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Amnesty: Europe risks 'complicity' in unlawful killings in Egypt

Egypt uses arms bought from members of the European Union to carry out human rights abuses, Amnesty International said yesterday.

"Almost half of European Union (EU) member states have flouted an EU-wide suspension on arms transfers to Egypt, risking complicity in a wave of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture," the human rights organisation said in a statement.

The EU imposed the suspension on arms transfers to Egypt "after hundreds of protesters were killed in a show of grossly excessive force by security forces in August 2013."

Despite the suspension imposed, the statement said, 12 out of 28 EU member states have remained among Egypt's main suppliers of arms and policing equipment.

"Almost three years on from the mass killings that led the EU to call on its member states to halt arms transfers to Egypt, the human rights situation has actually deteriorated," said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim deputy Middle East and North Africa programme director.

"Internal repression by the security forces remains rife, and there has been virtually no accountability. Excessive use of force, mass arbitrary arrests, torture, and enforced disappearances having become a part of the security forces' modus operandi."

"EU states transferring arms and policing equipment to Egyptian forces carrying out enforced disappearances, torture and arbitrary arrests on a mass scale are acting recklessly and are risking complicity in these serious violations."

Amnesty International pointed out that in 2014 alone, EU states authorised 290 licences for military equipment to Egypt, totalling more than €6 billion ($6.77 billion).

It said that the items included: small arms, light weapons and ammunition; armoured vehicles; military helicopters; heavier weapons for use in counter-terrorism and military operations and surveillance technology.

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