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Trial begins over illegal arms sales to Mexico

THE trials of six former employees of a German gun manufacturer  accused of the illegal sale of weapons to violent Mexican states opened in Stuttgart yesterday.

The accused worked for Heckler and Koch, with prosecutors saying they travelled to parts of Mexico that are covered by a German arms export ban.

According to the indictment 4,500 G36 assault rifles and smaller firearms were sent to Mexico in 16 batches despite the embargo.

The company’s guns have been used in many conflicts and are supplied to armed forces in countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey.

Defence lawyers argue that the guns were sold legally and went to a police depot, and therefore did not breach Germany’s War Weapons Control Act and Foreign Trade Act.

The case came to light following evidence presented by peace activist Jurgen Grasslin. Investigations revealed that G36 guns made by Heckler & Koch were used in a notorious case when six Mexican students were killed in Iguala in 2014, with another 43 having disappeared without trace.

The hearing continues.

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