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"Tasers are illegal"

Belgium's chief public prosecutors have written to the home minister to voice their concern about the use of tasers by the police. Media reports note that police unions too are pressing for the use of tasers by the police to be given a legal framework.

Pilot projects involving the use of tasers by the police are underway in 14 police zones. Tasers emit an electric charge that temporarily paralyses the muscles of the people they are used on. Belgian prosecutors say that there is no legal framework for the use of such weapons at the minute. Police unions claim that the weapon is illegal. Unions are demanding an immediate end to the pilot projects and are threatening strike action. A police spokesman told the daily Het Nieuwsblad they wanted to know in precise terms how such a weapon can be used and what it can be used for. The unions fear that in the event of an accident they could face court action.

Another union official is worried of the consequences if an officer tasers a member of the public with heart complaints.

Home minister Jambon insists that present legislation allows the use of tasers as an "exceptional" weapon. The pilot will proceed as planned.

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