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Saab slammed over arms to Burma

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Saab slammed over arms to Burma
09:43 CEST+02:00
A Saab subsidiary has been criticized by Amnesty International, which has said it could indirectly be supplying Burma's military junta with arms.

The criticism revolves around the sale of a weapons system and other equipment for use on an Indian military helicopter. The equipment was made by Saab Avitronics, a South African subsidiary of Sweden's Saab AB.

The report claims that India plans to sell the helicopter to Burma, something which Amnesty says could amount to an attempt by Saab to break or circumvent the European Union's arms embargo against Burma.

The EU and the United States have been imposing sanctions on Burma for a number of years, due to the regime's poor human rights record. Companies in the EU are banned entirely from selling arms and military technology to Burma.

"It is very important that Saab takes immediate action to ensure that their products do not end up in the hands of the Burmese dictatorship," said Ola Mattsson, secretary general of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society.

"The Swedish government should stop further export permits to India if the partnership with Burma is deepened through further weapon deliveries," Mattsson added.

As well as naming Saab, Amnesty points to several other companies in the EU and the United States which it says could be breaking embargoes against Burma.

The Local has been unable to reach Saab spokespeople for comment. However, company spokesman Anders Florenius told Dagens Nyheter that the issue was a matter for the authorities.

"The Indian state has presented an end-user certificate. That means that the things we have sold will end up in India. If they do not, then that is a problem for the Indian state," he told the paper. He added that it would be a serious breach of contract on the part of the Indian state if the equipment was resold.

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