Wanna buy some ‘torture tools’? Come down Brick Lane, urges Amnesty International

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 November 2014

Brick Lane... where Amnesty says you can legally buy and sell 'tools of torture'

Brick Lane... where Amnesty says you can legally buy and sell 'tools of torture'


Activists are taking to the streets around Brick Lane today to ask shoppers in London’s East End to buy some of their “tools of torture”.

Members of Amnesty International are dressing as street pedlars with sandwich boards and theatre-style selling trays.

They are converging on Brick Lane and Liverpool Street station hawking their evil wares in shopping hotspots to interest passers-by in buying thumbscrews, electro-shock handcuffs and spiked-baton ‘sting’ sticks.

“Obviously we won’t actually be selling real-life torture equipment in Brick Lane,” Amnesty International’s Oliver Sprague assured.

“But it’s shocking that someone can perfectly legally sit in an office in Brick Lane and set up a deal to sell 10,000 Chinese-made thumbscrews to a police force in Iran or Nigeria.”

The spoof pedlars from Amnesty’s HQ in Shoreditch are showing “prospective buyers” highly persuasive advertisement cards which lay out the supposed benefits of buying the products for the “efficient delivery of pain, based on a tried-and tested method” as part of their Apprentice-style street selling tactics.

Sprague added: “We want to open people’s eyes to the startling fact that the EU is still allowing unscrupulous torture merchants to operate in its borders.”

It is illegal to buy or sell these goods in the UK or export them from Britain, the campaigners point out.

But it is “perfectly lawful under present loopholes” in trade regulations to advertise them and even arrange their sale, as long as they do not enter the EU.

The organisation is running an online Amnesty petition to be delivered to Brussels in the coming months, calling for such EU ‘brokering’ deals to be outlawed in new measures being considered by the European Parliament.

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