Tag Archives: tools of torture

The EU still has blood on its hands as it continues to trade in tools of torture

Companies from within the EU are still supplying sodium thiopental

The European Union and its member states are responsible for countless deaths and acts of brutality. It will continue to be morally, and legally responsible for as long as companies within the EU are allowed to trade in equipment that is used for torture and murder.

Amnesty International has recently reported that a UK company is trading in a drug called sodium thiopental which is used in US for judicial executions. As recently as October 2010 this drug was used in the execution of Jeffrey Landrigan in Arizona. This sequence of events is not only morally deplorable but also illegal.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 effectively banned the trade in tools of torture. This included equipment that could be used for capital punishment. I have blogged before how this legislation has not been effectively implemented, and it saddens me to highlight that little has improved.

The reason the European Commission has not enforced these rules is based predominantly to do with lack of resources. Simply, it is not seen as a priority. This is why Amnesty International has called on the President of European Commission to:

  • Ensure that sufficient Commission resources are given to following up on implementation and revision of the Regulation
  • Update the Regulation’s annexes, to include controls on those drugs currently being sourced in the EU for executions in the USA, in addition to those items listed in the Amnesty International/ Omega Research Foundation report of March 2010 
  • Organise a meeting of trade experts from across the EU (the Committee on Common Rules for Exports) to take place as soon as possible, to discuss the use of drugs in executions in the USA and to agree on a change to the Regulation to include a new end-use ‘catch-all’ clause.

You can help fight this barbaric trade by signing the petition here.

Leave a comment

Filed under EU politics, Human rights, Politics

Brussels trades in tools of torture

Metal thumb-cuffs are among the tools of torture highlighted in the report © Robin Ballantyne / Omega Research Foundation

Companies across the EU have little restraint put upon them to not trade in instruments that can be used for torture.  European companies are selling electronic sleeves that deliver massive electronic shocks to those who are forced to wear them,” thumb cuffs” and other barbaric instruments. 

This is happening despite a ruling being in place since 2006 with outlaws such action.  It is illegal for European companies to trade in policing and security equipment designed for torture.  Several European states however, have failed to implement these rules.  This, in reality, means that are economies are being funded through illegal sales of torture equipment.  Does anyone else feel a little uncomfortable about this?

The Czech Republic and Germany were both named and shamed by an Amnesty International report highlighting the severity of this issue.  Amnesty maintain that “Between 2006 and 2009, the Czech Republic issued export licenses covering shackles, electric shock weapons and chemical sprays to six countries where police and security forces had previously used such equipment for torture and other ill-treatment”.  Germany it alleges “issued similar licenses to three such countries for exports of foot-chains and chemical sprays”.   This is active government and business lead support for Torture. Only 7 EU states have fulfilled their commitments under the legislation.  To help with your maths, this means 20 Member States are falling short.

The EU, once again, has the highest of standards when it comes to rhetoric around human right, but too often falls miserably short in up-holding its commitments.  Sadly, this pattern is extenuated when big business is involved. The European Commission must show it can stand up to big business on this issue.

1 Comment

Filed under EU politics, Human rights, Politics