18 U.S. Code § 2340 - Definitions

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As used in this chapter—
(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and
(3) “United States” means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.


(Added Pub. L. 103–236, title V, § 506(a),Apr. 30, 1994, 108 Stat. 463; amended Pub. L. 103–415, § 1(k),Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4301; Pub. L. 103–429, § 2(2),Oct. 31, 1994, 108 Stat. 4377; Pub. L. 108–375, div. A, title X, § 1089,Oct. 28, 2004, 118 Stat. 2067.)

2004—Par. (3). Pub. L. 108–375amended par. (3) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (3) read as follows: “ ‘United States’ includes all areas under the jurisdiction of the United States including any of the places described in sections 5 and 7 of this title and section 46501 (2) of title 49.”
1994—Par. (1). Pub. L. 103–415substituted “within his custody” for “with custody”.
Par. (3). Pub. L. 103–429substituted “section 46501 (2) of title 49” for “section 101(38) of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 App. U.S.C. 1301(38))”.
Effective Date

Pub. L. 103–236, title V, § 506(c),Apr. 30, 1994, 108 Stat. 464, provided that: “The amendments made by this section [enacting this chapter] shall take effect on the later of—
“(1) the date of enactment of this Act [Apr. 30, 1994]; or
“(2) the date on which the United States has become a party to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.” [Convention entered into Force with respect to United States Nov. 20, 1994, Treaty Doc. 100–20.]

The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.

The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An empty table indicates that we see no relevant changes listed in the classification tables. If you suspect that our system may be missing something, please double-check with the Office of the Law Revision Counsel.

18 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large


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