A group of women arrested at the DSEI arms fair in 2013 have begun private prosecution proceedings against arms companies who exhibited illegal weapons at the fair. French company Magforce International and Chinese company Tianjin MyWay International Trading will be summonsed to appear at Thames Magistrates Court to answer information about alleged crimes including the unlawful promotion for sale of leg irons, electric stun batons and electric stun guns. Because these weapons are likely to be used for torture (that is in fact their sole purpose), weapons like these are illegal to sell or promote in the UK without a licence. We commissioned a firearms expert to tell us about the weapons which you can read here.
On 11 September 2013 Caroline Lucas MP asked questions in Parliament about unlawful promotion of weapons at DSEI and organiser Clarion Events ejected the companies, admitting that their ‘compliance checks’ had again failed.
Following repeated attempts by our lawyers at disclosure regarding the nature and extent of the authorities’ investigation into breaches of law at the arms fair, most of our trial group’s criminal prosecutions were dropped. This week, we commenced our own private prosecution proceedings against the arms dealers.
We want to make clear that we are not merely opposed to ‘illegal’ weapons at the arms fair, we are against the arms fair full stop and everything it represents: the corruption, the human misery, and the profiteering by a narrow elite at the expense of people and planet. We see this private prosecution as a further step towards meeting our objective of discrediting and then stopping the DSEI arms fair for good.
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