BANNEDÌ LEG SHACKLES STILL MADE IN ENGLAND -- No progress on export controls expected in QueenÌs Speech

Amnesty International is calling for legislation to prevent UK transfers from contributing to human rights abuses abroad, but despite last yearís White Paper on the issue receiving cross-party support, no Bill is expected to be announced in this weekís Queenís Speech.

Other loopholes that cry out to be closed include the absence of controls on arms brokering and licensed production overseas, the lack of controls on government transfers and the lack of adequate end-use monitoring of exports.

Amnesty International UK Director of Communications Mark Lattimer said:

ìThe sale overseas of medieval restraints by a British company set up in the eighteenth century to service the slave trade cannot be prevented by our current legislation which was introduced as an emergency measure on the eve of the Second World War.î

ìThe manufacture and sale of such restraints should have no place in a modern Britain and their continuing use in the United States calls into question that countryís often stated commitment to defend human rights.î

The Independent reported that one of its photographers had been able to buy leg-shackles clearly stamped ëMade in Englandí over the counter in the United States, where Amnesty International has documented their widespread misuse in prisons and jails.

US law does not bar the use of leg-chains or leg-irons, even though their use as restraints is expressly prohibited by the United Nationís Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Amnesty International has documented leg shackles being used in the US on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights prisoners in labour and on child prisoners as young as ten years-old. Restraints of all sorts are frequently used punitively, rather than to control dangerous inmates.

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