Arms dealer guilty verdict welcomed

Amnesty International today welcomed the news that a British arms dealer Gary Hyde had been found guilty on charges of illicit arms deals.

The international arms dealer and former director of York Guns was found guilty for helping to ship tens of thousands of assault rifles and 32 million rounds of ammunition from China to Nigeria without a licence.  Hyde was also found guilty for concealing commission payments.

Amnesty International’s UK Arms Programme Director Oliver Sprague said:

“Today’s guilty verdict for this notorious gunrunner shows that hard fought laws to regulate arms trafficking can bring those arms dealers who try to evade controls to justice.

“It's worth remembering that less than a decade ago no laws were in place to control UK arms dealers like Gary Hyde, despite the fact that they were sending huge quantities of weapons to some of the world’s worst human rights crisis zones, weapons that facilitated widespread violence including unlawful killings, rape and torture and contributed to the most appalling human suffering."

As Mr Hyde was found guilty in the UK this afternoon, representatives from the world’s governments are meeting at the UN in New York to discuss the next steps in negotiating the first international Arms Treaty.

Oliver Sprague added:

“To be effective, this Treaty must have strong and binding rules at its heart that stop anyone supplying or brokering weapons where it is likely that they could facilitate serious human rights violations.”

Background

  1. York Guns Ltd became well-known in the UK after it sold a Browning 9 mm pistol to a UK civilian who then used the weapon to murder 15 school Children's rights and their teacher in the Scottish village in Dunblane in 1996, an event which led to the wholesale reform of British gun licensing laws.
  2. Gary Hyde first became known to Amnesty International in 2006 when it was discovered that his company York Guns Ltd was believed to have privately imported thousands of assault rifles and machine guns from Bosnia to the UK.
  3. Amnesty also raised concerns in 2008 after companies linked to Hyde had sold tens of thousands of guns to Iraq’s former head of military procurement Ziad Cattan without an appropriate arms brokering licence, and after discovering that many of the guns shipped to Iraq disappeared after delivery.
  4. Oliver Sprague is available for interview from the United Nations building in New York.

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