Labour MEPs back EU ban on export of torture equipment – measures UKIP MEPs fail to support

Labour MEPs have hailed today’s European Parliament vote tightening up legislation banning exports of torture equipment from the European Union – measures UKIP’s MEPs failed to support.

The new laws update the EU’s 2005 Anti-Torture regulation, introducing a ban on marketing and promotion of goods which have no other practical use than execution or torture, like electric chairs, automatic drug injection systems or spiked thumbscrews, which will apply to exhibitions and trade fairs as well as advertising.

The transit of prohibited goods via EU territory will also be banned, with couriers required to stop the transit of controlled goods – products that have been designed for other purposes, but could be used for torture, such as riot control weapons and anaesthetics used in lethal injections – if they know the shipment will end up in the wrong hands.

David Martin MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee and Labour’s spokesperson on the legislation, said:

“These strengthened measures will guarantee that the EU in no way contributes to trade in torture and capital punishment goods and is therefore no longer indirectly complicit in torture or executions beyond its borders.

“By closing loopholes, tackling services related to the sales of goods used in torture, such as advertising and promotion and banning their transit through the EU, the European Parliament has sent an important message to the world: torture and the death penalty have no place in modern society and the EU will not stand by whilst people suffer.

“The adoption of these measures show that EU values prevail over profits and economic interests and also play a crucial role in EU trade policy – the prohibition on torture goods must remain in any post-Brexit trade deals the UK government negotiates.”

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, added:

“Because this is from the EU, the biggest trading bloc in the world, this legislation can have a real impact in setting global standards, in a way that no country could achieve unilaterally. It is a real fear that outside the EU, the UK will lack the clout to demand these high standards in any future bilateral trade deals with third countries.

“It is to be hoped the UK government, post-Brexit, maintains the ban on torture goods, and does not follow the example of UKIP, whose MEPs today failed to support the legislation.

“Nigel Farage may seem like a harmless jester, but when they think no one’s watching, UKIP will march lockstep with Marine Le Pen and her jackbooted brethren in opposing sensible, common-sense measures like banning the export of equipment that can be used to torture and execute people.”