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The Middle East, explained

Egypt: US sending new shipment of weapons, rights group says

Amnesty International says the US is sending a new shipment of weapons to Egypt.

Even on the heels of several violent crackdowns on Egyptian protestors by security forces here, the US is again sending a new shipment of weapons to the country's military junta. 

According to a statement today by London-based rights group, Amnesty International, "a ship carrying a cargo of weapons with explosives" is en currently en route from the US to Egypt. 

The ship "must not be allowed to offload because of a substantial risk the weapons will be used by Egyptian security forces to commit human rights violations," Amnesty said today. 

In its statement, the rights group has significant details of the ship's cargo, its departure port and how long its been at sea. According to Amnesty:

On 3 March 2012 the ship left Sunny Point, a military-only port, carrying a class of dangerous goods that covers cartridges for weapons, fuses, and other ammunition. The ship has a cargo capacity of 21,000 tons and 1,100 twenty foot containers. The captain reported the ship’s next destination as Port Said in Egypt.   

Amnesty's head of arms control, Brian Wood, goes on to say:

“This ship of shame should not be allowed to unload its dangerous cargo in Egypt, and there is a substantial risk that this is what it plans to do. There is a clear pattern that weapons from previous ships have recently been used to commit serious human rights violations by the Egyptian security forces, and yet the US is recklessly sending a constant flow of arms to Egypt.” 

In recent clashes between protestors and police in Cairo, demonstrators are quick to pick up spent, US-made tear gas canisters and denounce the US government to local and foreign media. 

Read more from GlobalPost: In Egypt, the police force is up for grabs

In December 2011, workers at the Egyptian commercial port Suez leaked documents revealing a 21-ton shipment of US tear gas to Egypt's Ministry of Interior. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-middle-east/egypt-amnesty-international-us-tear-gas

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