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Amnesty react to illegal torture equipment on sale at London arms fair

Responding to reports that two companies have been expelled from a prestigious London arms fair for selling illegal torture equipment, Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International’s Arms Programme Director, said:

“It is good news that the organisers have finally decided to act, but it is nothing short of scandalous that it has taken evidence gathered by independent researchers at the fair to force them to act.

“Amnesty has seen images of brochures available at the Defense and Security International [DSEi] fair in London’s Docklands and they clearly show illegal torture equipment, such as electro shock weapons and leg irons on sale.

“It should not be up to independent researchers to stop this illegal trade. The organisers should have stopped it. They have the responsibility to check what is on sale and they should have acted before the fair opened. The question remains whether they have the will.

“This is the third exhibition in a row that illegal goods have been advertised at the show.

“The Government and organisers have made numerous promises and commitments over the years to clamp down on this practice, but it is only after these images have been circulated that the organisers kicked out the offending companies.”

DSEi confirmed that Tianjin Myway International Trading Co and Magforce International have been ejected from the fair having been found with literature in breach of their compliance policy. The two companies’ stands have been shut down and the exhibitors ejected.

Oliver Sprague added:

“UK law prohibits the advertising of goods like torture equipment and Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to take swift action against any company that is found in breach of the law, and immediately ban them from participation in this and all future UK arms fairs.

“With companies openly selling torture equipment on one side of the counter and delegates from countries like Bahrain, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia – governments that even our own Government has branded as serious human rights violators – on the other, the DSEi fair is hardly the sort of matchmaking that Londoners should be proud to host.”

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