PARIS — A military and police trade fair outside Paris shut down a contentious stand Wednesday after human rights group Amnesty International said its staff has found torture equipment for sale in violation of European Union laws.
Muriel Kafantaris, director of the Milipol trade fair, said in an email to The Associated Press that the fair’s organizers decided to “close the stand involved immediately” after Amnesty reported on illegal items being displayed.
Amnesty said researchers found equipment including “spiked batons, spiked electric shock riot forks, electric shock vests and heavy leg irons for sale by Chinese companies.”
The rights group said the “gruesome illegal torture equipment” was on sale at the trade fair taking place this week in Villepinte, outside Paris.
Amnesty’s arms control adviser, Ara Marcen Naval, said that “by failing to enforce the law, France is providing a marketplace for torturers.”
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem described the discovery as “simply awful,” saying via Twitter that “this appears to be a blatant violation of EU law and I fully expect French authorities to urgently investigate this.”
Milipol Paris claims to be the world’s leading event dedicated to homeland security. The fair hosts hundreds of exhibitors from dozens of countries every two years. More than 150 official international delegations from nearly 100 countries usually visit, it says.
The 2017 fair, which was inaugurated Tuesday by French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, is an official event organized in partnership with the French police and Interpol.