Human rights: Tools of torture doing roaring trade

18 March 2010 – Presseurop EUobserver.com

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Several European countries, including the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Hungary, and Germany, have sold "tools of torture" to third party countries in violation of EU law, according to joint report released March 17 by Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation, writes*euobserver.com**.* Thumb cuffs, electric shock cuffs, spiked batons and other torture instruments were exported despite a EU law enacted in 2006 forbidding such trade. The *EUobserver* notes the countries cited in the report apparently used loopholes in the law to make the sales, for example exporting instrument components separately or giving them names designed to fool customs agents. "*Those who wish to practice torture always find the means," comments* Zbyněk Petráček *in*Lidové noviny, pointing out that the equipment cited is also regularly used by security forces in the exporting nations. A human rights sub-committee will be making a progress report on the application of the law on 18 March.

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