Richard Bennett has researched the Inquisition in great detail and he writes
"The methods of the Inquisition were an outrage to elementary principles of justice. Anyone could be arrested on suspicion. The trials were secret. The prisoner was not allowed to know the accusers or witnesses. The Bishops and priests who acted as judges had absolute power. The evidence of infamous persons, criminals, or perjurers was admitted so long as it was hostile. Children older than twelve were required to bear testimony. The prisoner was disallowed the help of an advocate, for anyone defending a prisoner was held guilty of the crime of heresy. A person tried by the Inquisition was scarcely ever acquitted. 'In the register of Carcassonne from 1249 to 1258, comprising about two hundred cases, there is not a single case in which a prisoner was discharged as innocent.' Tanon, a French investigator, wrote, 'There is scarcely ever an acquittal, pure and simple, in the sentence of the Inquisition.'"
"The prisons of the Inquisition were some of the most common and atrocious places. The Inquisitors could leave people in their prisons indefinitely, without trial. The Inquisitor Eymeric, in his records called Directorium,stated that a person believed guilty 'shall be shut up in prison, strictly confined and in chains. If he shows no willingness to be converted there is no need for haste for the pains and privations of imprisonment often bring about a change of mind.'"" To quote Lea, 'The dungeons of the Inquisition were abodes of fearful misery, but where there were reasons for increasing their terrors there was no difficulty in increasing the hardships. The chains and starvation in a stifling hole was a favorite device for extracting confession from unwilling lips.'
"Historians give us some detailed information about some of the prisons of the Inquisition. Even some Catholic priests complained about the prison conditions in some towns in the south of France. Historians tell that the cells were fitted up with a variety of instruments to cause severe suffering. Many prisoners, through the severity of their torments, lost the use of their limbs and were rendered utterly helpless. "As the old saying goes, the only thing men learn from history is that men learn nothing form history, and the ways, methods and mentality that fueled the Inquisition exist in the modern War on Terror. Beginning in the wake September 11th disaster draconian laws were passed, and that infrastructure of abuse has been tweaked and modified to a point that would make Torquemada proud. The foot soldiers and inquisitors in this new assault on humanity include members of elite American military units, as well as professional interrogators from the CIA, FBI and the NSA. To these footsoldiers and their superiors, no rule is too precious to break, no line too sacred to cross. The Constitution is a roadblock in their self-noble quest to keep us free.
Consider the case of Jose Padilla. Mr Padilla is an American citizen, presumably with the right to a trial by a jury of his peers. But the True Believers of this new Inquisition instead carted him away in secret, and held him without bond or legal counsel for years. He was found guilty and will spend the rest of his life in a Supermax prison, despite having failed to kill a single human being. The intent was enough, and the government felt no need to 'prove' their case the way they would a normal attempted murder case. They claimed that to actually produce evidence against Padilla would compromise national security. You see, in the new Inquisition, just like the old, the accusation is enough, proof is merely a footnote.
Well, after all, Padilla is a bad guy, right? And at least he continues to breath, which is more than you can say for Anwar al-Awlaki, also an America citizen. Anwar and his 16 year old son are both dead today because the American president selected them for death by drone. They were never charged with a crime, never indicted. They were never arrested, and never allowed to face ther accusers. Their accuser sat half a world away and signed their death warrants. The execution was carried out, then denied and only admitted to later.
The entire story of the War on Terror has been the shredding of freedom under the guise of protecting it. The abuses continue and no one is exempt. The laws that were purpotedly passed to stop terrorists have been invoked in all manner of circumstances.
The Inquisition went on as long as it did because of the fanatical hatred of its overlords, and the simple fact that there is always another heretic somewhere to burn. The new Inquisition is just as perpetual because there will always be a bad guy somewhere real or imaginary somewhere on the planet. There will always be another dragon to slay, and thanks to the NDAA passed in 2012, the Inquisition can go on forever, and in your own backyard.
As an afterthought, if you are counting on a political party to come into power that will reverse this trend, good luck. The Patriot Act was signed into law by a published advocate of small government, although he wasn't known for being bright. The GOP offering up for his replacement was also famously terrible, and the great white horse of the 2012 campaign openly admitted his support for the NDAA.
In fact, out of the entire stable of 2012 candidates, only one of them would address these issues from a freedom perspective. But how he didn't get the job is a whole separate story.