AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL claim that stun guns used by the Portuguese police can lead to death.
On Tuesday last week, it called on the government to suspend the use of the gun which uses a 50,000 volt electric current which paralyses the target for several minutes.
“Tasers are not non-lethal weapons as they are described and should only be used as a last resort,” states an AI Portugal report which alleged that in the United States 334 people have died over seven years as a result of the weapons.
“In 90 per cent of cases, the individuals are disarmed and the shocks do not represent a real threat to their wellbeing,” the report adds, but when targets are repeatedly stunned they “can suffer from unexpected effects”. These can include heart attack, cardiac arrest, epilepsy and respiratory failure.
“We’re not against the use of these arms per say since they are less harmful than conventional firearms, but we believe they have not been sufficiently tested to be classified as non-lethal,” says Pedro Krupenski, director of AI Portugal.
In Portugal, Taser stun guns are used by the PSP, Polícia Judiciária, Polícia Marítima, prison guards, and the GNR Special Operations Squad.
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