Row over German weapons exports after report on civilian deaths during Arab Spring

Protesters in Cairo were crushed by Fahd armoured personnel carriers made under licence from a German company

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The Independent Online

The ruling coalition is being criticised for relaxing rules on weapons exports, after armoured cars that crushed protesters in Cairo during the Arab Spring were identified as Fahd armoured personnel carriers made under licence from a German company.

Video footage has emerged showing protesters marching towards Cairo’s Radio and Television union building in October 2011. Seconds later 12 demonstrators are run over and killed by the armoured cars which accelerate towards them.

Matthias John, an Amnesty International arms expert, told Der Spiegel magazine that the vehicles were German-designed armoured personnel carriers (APCs) which were made under licence in Egypt. “It is unspeakable that such a massacre was perpetrated with German vehicles,” he said.

German companies, including Daimler, were found to have delivered components for the APCs. The Economics Ministry was said to have approved delivery of €55m worth of such components in 2011.

Mr John accused the government of authorising the exports in breach of official policy which stipulates that weapons should only be sold to states that do not commit violence against their own citizens. There was no immediate response from the Economics Ministry.