The 'Electro-Guard 5000' fence, distributed by New York-based company DeTekion Security Systems, Inc., has been advertised for sale at the International Fire and Security Exhibition and Conference (IFSEC) 2002, held in Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre.

The free-standing fence, designed to 'deter, detect and delay intruder activity', is advertised as being capable of operating in 'full time lethal mode' or alternating between lethal and non-lethal modes. The company lists Egypt, Korea, Mexico and countries in the Middle East amongst its clients.

Scotland Yard says the device would be illegal for use in the UK and Amnesty International is urging the UK government to immediately investigate the matter and to take concrete steps to prevent companies promoting and marketing products that would inherently facilitate arbitrary killing or torture.

'Even in the current security climate the penalty for trespass is not execution,' said Director of Amnesty International UK Kate Allen. 'The UK Government should not be allowing companies to promote equipment that would violate international human rights standards.'

Amnesty International is pointing out that a device capable of killing someone with an electric shock upon arbitrary application of a switch or timer is contrary to the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms. These state that lethal force should not be used except when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life. The use of force must also be to the minimum extent required under the circumstances.

According to the DeTekion's sales material, 'on alarm detection, the system can switch to lethal mode instantly or after a programmable short time delay.'

The conference – which ran from May 13-16 - was supported by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA).

Please click here for more Amnesty International information on electro-shock technologies

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