Protest Outside COPEX, Sandown Racecourse, Tuesday 30th October

COPEX Fails to Disclose Its Invitation List

CAAT supporters staged a protest outside the COPEX exhibition on Sandown Racecourse today, disappointed that the exhibition’s new administration would not disclose which countries were represented by delegates.

COPEX (Contingency and Operational Procurement Exhibition) exhibits surveillance, security, and riot control technology. Its main customer target groups are military forces, correction agencies and intelligence agencies, for whom the exhibition is a networking forum. Entrance is by invitation only.

The exhibition became notorious in 1995 after Martyn Gregory’s expose in the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary of COPEX as a market place for electro-shock batons and other torture equipment.

This year no torture equipment was on display.

Catherine Brown of CAAT said: Even apparently harmless equipment exhibited by COPEX can be used in internal repression. CCTV cameras were used by the Chinese police to identify Tiananman Square protesters who subsequently disappeared.

However, CAAT is concerned that COPEX would not reveal which countries had been invited, and that the delegates did not wear badges stating the name of their country.

In the past, COPEX has issued invitations to such countries as Indonesia, Turkey and China, in which torture is widespread – and to countries against which the United Kingdom held arms sales embargoes at the time.

One of the companies represented this year, the American arms giant Raytheon, manufactures missiles systems and landmines, and has supplied the Saudi Arabian and Indonesian governments. It made large donations to the Labour Party in advance of the last general election.

CAAT will continue to place pressure on the organisers of COPEX to state their policy concerning its invitees.

Catherine Brown continued: COPEX has in previous years invited representatives of countries which practice torture. Their secretiveness this year concerning its invitees suggests that they still have something to hide – we hope that this is not the case.


Contact: Catherine Brown or Richard Bingley
CAAT Head Office 020 7281 0297

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