The case of the Inquisition against the accused

The trial of the Inquisition was such that the accused had no chance. The Inquisitor was a prosecutor and a judge, and any accusation was taken as evidence. The evidence along with charges against the accused were not made available to them. even though the defendans were urged to confess the crime, most of the time they weren’t aware of what they are confessing.

The names of the alleged witnesses were kept secret, and the trial itself was a mere formality because the verdict would have already been prepared. Heretics were entitled to a lawyer, but if they lost the case and the defendant was found guilty, the defence lawyer could no longer practice law. Most lawyers did not even try to defend suspected heretics. There was also no entitlement to appeal the verdict.

Suđenje Ivani Orleanskoj/ The trial of Joan of Arc
Suđenje Ivani Orleanskoj / The trial of Joan of Arc

The Inquisition provided great opportunity for revenge, hatred, intrigue,treachery, corruption and other ill – doings.

It worked with the use of espionage and unfortunately, bestial torture. Torture was resorted to, even though instructions were given not to get the life of the accused into question. In the end, the inquisitors had to deal with three types of defendants, those who gave immediate confession, others that confessed under torture, and thirdly those who would not admit heresy even under torture.

The punishment of heretics following confession would be left to the civil court because the Inquisition remained an ecclesiastical-civil institution. Blood-shed was not allowed, and the heretic was usually executed by being burned at the stake, though hangings were also common. The exact figure of those executed is not known. In the next chapter, there will be some information about Tomas de Torquemada, the famous Spanish inquisitor.


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