Bahrain using UK acquired weapons for crackdown on protestors

February 18th, 2011 - 7:03 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 18 (ANI): The British government has reportedly launched a review of arms exports to Bahrain after it emerged that the country’s security forces are using weapons supplied by London for its crackdown on the pro-democracy protestors in Manama.

Following reports that the crackdown has left five people dead and over 100 injured in Manama, British Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt has said that the government will “urgently revoke licences if we judge that they are no longer in line with the UK and European Union criteria”, The Guardian reports.

Despite concerns among activists over Bahrain’s human rights record, British firms were last year granted licences to export an arsenal of deadly crowd control weapons. The approved licences included exactly the kind of weapons and ammunition used by Bahraini riot police to clear the Pearl Roundabout protest encampment, including shotguns, teargas canisters, “crowd control ammunition” and stun grenades, the paper said.

Meanwhile, Human rights groups have called for an immediate suspension of arms supplies to Bahrain, and an explanation why they were granted.

“We closely consider allegations of human rights abuses. We will not authorise any exports which, we assess, might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, which might be used to facilitate internal repression,” Burt said.

Amid allegations that Bahrain military employs a number of British citizens “as advisers on organisation and strategy in the ministry of interior and the ministry of defence,” the British Ministry of Defence has failed to give a clear answer to justify or deny such allegations, the paper said. (ANI)

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