Exporting Torture Tools Will Require License

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Export of equipment for the torture or execution of human beings will require a license issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security, according to rules proposed by the Commerce Department. The new rules will cover thumbscrews, spiked batons, shock sleeves, multipoint restraint devices, restraint chairs and other devices.
The Bureau proposed the new requirements because “equipment designed for the execution of human beings has a clear nexus to crime control and an obvious potential use in repressing human rights.”
     The proposed rules also cover the export of specially designed implements of torture and restraint including thumbscrews, thumbcuffs, fingercuffs, spiked batons, shock sleeves and law enforcement striking weapons such as batons and whips, and adds multipoint restraint devices including restraint chairs to the illustrative list of devices that require a license because their use has increased in recent years and because they have potential for use in human rights abuse.
     If this rule is adopted, the Bureau will consider the standards of other nations that control the export of similar items, and the reputation on human rights for destination countries when it rules on export permits.
     The Bureau also proposes to use the definition of torture, already present in other U.S. statutes, which is consistent with the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which includes “Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person.”

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