@SaeedShehabi letter to the Korean Ambassador in #London
18th October 2013
Embassy of South Korea,
Buckingham Palace Gate
We understand that your Government may supply Bahrain's regime with large amounts of chemical and tear gas canisters. This is a big blow to human rights principles and to codes of decent human relations. While crowd-control equipment may be supplied to governments, it becomes a criminal act when they are given to a regime that has "weaponised" them.
In August 2012 Physicians For Human Rights confirmed that the Bahraini regime has done exactly that. (http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/weaponizing-tear-gas.html
In January 2012 Amnesty International issued a report on the subject titled "Bahrain's use of tear gas against protesters increasingly deadly".
It is thus an outrageous move by your Government to agree to supply more than 1.6 tear gas canisters to a country whose native population does not exceed half of that number. A secret document from Bahrain's Ministry of Interior contains some details of the proposed stockpiling of tear gas canisters for use against peaceful demonstrators.
Last year the tear gas used against Bahraini demonstrators was tested by Dublin University medical team and concluded that the CS gas used is up to 10-times more toxic than in normal teargas canisters.
In the past 30 months more than 70 Bahrainis have died as a result of inhaling tear gases fired by security forces on protesters. Images of their corpses show how horrible their death had been.
It is suggested that South Korea may be the source of these weaponised items.
We urge you to take immediate steps to halt the sale of these lethal weapons, establish a parliamentary inquiry into this and previous deals to Bahrain's regime and offer an explanation of the continued economic and political dealing with a regime that had been found by its own Commission of Inquiry to be engaged in "systematic torture". Pro-democracy protesters do not deserve to be exterminated by those lethal weapons.
Thank you in anticipation
Dr Saeed Shehabi
Bahrain Freedom Movement
020 7724 3033