Greece: Which is the private company G4S about to take over the security of detention centres
By omniatv. Author: filistina Translator: Anna Papoutsi
“Private firms providing “security services” will soon undertake the guarding of migrants’ detention centres, as well as the policing of “special” prisoners with monitoring devices, thus paving the way towards the privatisation of prisons in Greece, following the US and UK standards.”
According to EUobserver, the British G4S, the largest private security company in the world, is among the companies that will be competing for undertaking the guarding of migrants’ detention centers in Paranesti Dramas, Corinth and Orestiada. The funding is provided by the Public Investment Programme and the European Return Fund.
Let’s see which is the biggest among the private “security” providing companies, although they don’t differ largely from each other:
G4S (formerly Group 4 Securicor) is a British multinational security company based in Crawley, UK. It is the largest security company in the world and does business in some 125 countries.
Its basic services include “staffed security services”, providing selected and trained security professionals. The company also provides “security systems”, such as entry control, CCTV, intrusion alarms, fire detection, video and technology for building security systems. The “monitoring and reaction services” is another core service, where G4S provides security patrols, response services as well as monitoring and alarm receiving services. G4S also provides “security services installation”, including integrated services to large areas or land for commercial customers and the government. The G4S also provides electronic tagging and monitoring of prisoners in their home or community (monitoring devices). The company provides support operations for the police forces. Also, G4S manages juvenile and adult detention centres in whatever has to do with the facilities and the people being held in them. This also includes the management of centres used for the detention of asylum seekers. Prisoners’ custody is another essential service. G4S transfers prisoners and asylum seekers to and from the court houses, police stations and detention centres.
The role of G4S to the Israeli apartheid
G4S is complicit to the Israeli occupation of Palestine by supplying equipment and services for use on security checkpoints, on illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and on the maintenance of the prison system in Israel. The Palestinian political prisoners face systematic torture and abuse during arrest and detention at the hands of the Israeli army. In 2007, the Israeli subsidiary of G4S signed a contract with the Israeli Prison Authority to provide security systems for major Israeli prisons. G4S provides security systems for the Ketziot and Megiddo prisons, where Palestinian political prisoners, from the occupied Palestinian territories within Israel, are being held. The company also provides equipment to the Ofer prison, located at the occupied West Bank and the Kishon and Moskobiyyeh detention centres, which human rights groups have repeatedly denounced for torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners, including imprisoned children. G4S provides “security” services at various levels to prisons, where Palestinian detainees are regularly subjected to torture and abuse. In the Al Jalame prison, Palestinian children are held locked in solitary confinement for days or even weeks.
According to Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel is forbidden to transfer Palestinian prisoners from the occupied territories to prisons inside Israel. Nonetheless, thousands of Palestinian prisoners are illegally imprisoned inside Israel. By providing equipment to these prisons, G4S is actively involved in violations of international law.
G4S is also involved in other aspects of the Israeli occupation and the apartheid regime: it supplies equipment and services for the Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank –which are part of the illegal Israeli Wall route– but also for the points blocking the occupied territories of Gaza. G4S has also signed contracts with the headquarters of the Israeli police in the West Bank and private companies for equipment and services.
Profit at the expense of human rights
G4S profits from the violation of human rights around the world. G4S has signed contracts to manage security in Afghanistan and Iraq and plays an important role in the operation of migrant detention centres and in deportations, as outsourced services, getting profit from the exploitation of migrants. One of the victims is Jimmy Mubenga who died during his violent deportation from the UK to Angola.
The death of Jimmy Mubenga
In October 2010, the 46-year old Jimmy Mubenga died on board the plane where he was being held by 3 G4S guards, while being deporting. The security guards kept him firmly tied in place, while Mubenga was shouting and trying to resist deportation. Passengers reported that they heard him shouting “don’t do this” and “they are trying to kill me.” The Scotland Yard homicide unit launched an investigation after his death and described the case as “inexplicable”. The 3 G4S guards were released on bail.
In February 2011, The Guardian reported that G4S guards in the UK had been repeatedly accused of dangerous excessive use of violence against detainees and asylum seekers, according to information by company’s employees after Mumbenga’s death. Next fall, G4S was again confronted with allegations when company’s guards were accused of verbally harassing and intimidating prisoners in an aggressive and racist language.
Allegations about prisons in South Africa
In October 2013, BBC reported that there were allegations about detainees being tortured in Mangaung prison in South Africa. BBC presented a research project from Wits University in Johannesburg, that claimed that dozens of the approximately 3,000 prisoners in the G4S prison have been tortured with the use of electric shocks and forced injections. In October 2013, G4S stated that it was investigating the allegations.
In recent years, G4S faces an increasingly stronger boycott movement around the world, with political activists organizing campaigns and protests against G4S and with businesses, universities and organisations stopping their cooperation with this “security services” company.