Doctors and activists skeptical over weapon
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL / Radikal
The ‘Silent Guard’ draws the ire of medical experts and human rights activists.A non-lethal weapon, produced by the U.S. arms manufacturer Raytheon, which creates a burning sensation in humans may replace the Turkish police forces’ traditional arsenal of truncheons and pepper gas in dispersing crowds and demonstrators, according to reports.
Company officials have confirmed they held talks with the Turkish police for the sale of “R50,” or the “Silent Guard,” but the move has also drawn the ire of both medical experts and human rights activists.
“Vaporization underneath the skin and clothes in particular and the burning sensation could lead to serious harm. Moreover, the dense audial stimulation could have very serious repercussions. It could cause problems in certain stimulations in the cerebellum,” said Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the head of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV.)
Company officials insist, however, that the device has undergone 18 years of testing and has no ill-effects on human health. The “R50” creates the burning sensation by emitting radio waves which cause the vapor under the skin to dry up. It can also be directed from a distant command center through the use of a joystick.
“It does not sound very persuasive to me. This device that causes dehydration in tissues could theoretically be dangerous. Sudden dehydration could lead to serious problems,” said Prof. Gençay Gürsoy, a former head of the Turkish Medical Association