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London Arms fair advertises banned torture equipment

Amnesty International has obtained brochures from the Defense and Security International fair (DSEi) currently taking place in London’s Docklands, which appear to clearly show illegal torture equipment advertised.

Despite explicit acknowledgments on the DSEi website that the sale of “leg irons, gang chains, shackles and shackle bracelets” are prohibited, the brochures Amnesty has obtained, advertise the products for sale from a company called CTS-Thompson on display at the  Beechwood  Equipment stall. A double-page spread in the brochure clearly offers oversized leg cuffs, waist chains, lead chains and “the enhanced transport restraint system”, which combines waist chains and cuffs with leg cuffs.

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

“Sadly this is not the first time that DSEi has allowed prohibited torture equipment to find its way onto exhibitors’ stands, despite a public commitment to monitor compliance, and scrutinize all advertising material.

“The promotion of leg restraints, waist chains and metal leads has quite rightly been outlawed in the UK and we expect both the authorities and the fair organisers to take swift action against any company in breach of the law and ban them from participation immediately.

 “With companies openly flogging torture equipment on one side of the counter and delegates from countries like Bahrain on the other, it is hardly the sort of matchmaking that Londoners should be proud to host.”

At DSEi in 2007, researchers discovered two companies, BCB International (Cardiff) and Famous Glory Holding (China) promoting banned leg restraints. The two companies were expelled from the exhibition by organisers Reed Elsevier.


An extract from the DSEi compliance notes for exhibitors on the DSEi website:

  • The following equipment and services are prohibited at DSEi:
    a. Restraints specifically designed for restraining human beings, as follows:
    Leg irons, gang chains, shackles1 and individual cuffs or shackle bracelets except those that are ordinary hand cuffs2

    Audit notes:

    Compliance audits will take place before and throughout DSEi to ensure that equipment, services, documentation and all other forms of visual promotion and display exhibited comply with the above-mentioned undertakings

Read the complete text on the DSEi website .

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