There were no laws or rules to protect the treatment of prisoners who faced torture, such as the Iron Balls Torture. Torture was seen as a totally legitimate means for justice to extract confessions, obtain the names of accomplices, obtain testimonies or confessions.
Methodof the Iron Balls Torture
Different types of torture were used depending on the victim's crime and social status. There were also different tortures used according to the customs of each country. In France torture by stretching was practised and described as follows:
At Avignon, the ordinary torture consisted in hanging the accused by the wrists, with a heavy iron ball at each foot; for the extraordinary torture, which was then much in use in Italy under the name of veglia, the body was stretched horizontally by means of ropes passing through rings riveted into the wall, and attached to the four limbs, the only support given to the culprit being the point of a stake cut in a diamond shape, which just touched the end of the back-bone. A doctor and a surgeon were often present, feeling the pulse at the temples of the patient, so as to be able to judge of the moment when he could not any longer bear the pain. At that moment he was untied, hot fomentations were used to revive him, restoratives were administered, and, as soon as he had recovered a little strength, he was again put to the torture, which went on thus for six consecutive hours.