Corporate Complicity in Israeli Detention: G4S
G4S is the largest security company in the world, with operations in 125 countries. In 2007, G4S Israel signed a contract with the Israeli Prison Authority to provide security systems and services to all of the major Israeli prisons and detention centers. G4S currently services detention centers and prisons where Palestinians under administrative detention are held without charge or trial on six-month detention orders, renewable indefinitely.
Prisons & Detention Centers: G4S provides security systems to Ketziot, Damon and Meggido prisons, as well as the Russian Compound (Al-Moskobiyeh) and Kishon (Al-Jalameh) detention and interrogation centers. G4S is responsible for these facilities’ control and monitoring systems, in addition to visitation and CCTV systems. G4S also provides security systems and a central control room in Hasharon compound – Rimonim prison, which includes a wing for Palestinian political prisoners.
Complicity in Torture: Al-Moskobiyeh and Al-Jalameh centers, serviced by G4S, are renowned for their use of torture, including of children. For instance, in 2013, detainee Arafat Jaradat died as a result of torture endured at the hands of Israeli interrogators at Al-Jalameh. Loai Ashqar had three of his vertebrae broken due to torture sustained in Al-Jalameh in 2005, permanently paralyzing his left leg. Under Israeli military law, detainees can be held in interrogation for up to 60 days without access to a lawyer, effectively preventing appropriate checks on interrogation methods.
Military Courts: G4S installed and operates a central command room and peripheral defense system in Ofer Prison in the West Bank,which also houses the Israeli military courts that issue administrative detention orders.
Administrative Detainees: All of the prisons and detention centers serviced by G4S have housed administrative detainees. As of 01 February 2015, there are 454 Palestinians held in administrative detention, including 9 Palestinian Legislative Council members. Detainees are held in various G4S-secured detention centers and prisons including Ketziot, Ofer, and Megiddo.
Detention in the 1948 Territories: Ketziot, Megiddo, Al-Jalameh, Al-Moskobiyeh, and Hasharon-Rimonim are all located in the 1948 Territories (Israel). Holding political prisoners from the West Bank and Gaza in these prisons is illegal under international law, specifically Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of prisoners from occupied territories. This transfer, coupled with the restrictive permit system used by Israel, means that many detainees receive few, if any, family visits.
A call for action was released by Palestinian civil society organizations in support of thousands of Palestinian prisoners who went on hunger strike in April 2012 to protest administrative detention, solitary confinement, and limitations on family visits. The call urged action to hold G4S accountable for complicity violations of international law and human rights violations in Israeli prisons and detention centers. The call is a part of the Palestinian campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
Effectiveness of International Pressure:
International BDS mobilization has caused G4S to lose contracts worth millions of dollars with universities, trade unions, public institutions and private companies around the world. Some highlights are (full list available online):
- •Universities in Oslo and Bergen refused to give G4S contracts over its role in Israel’s prison system following student campaigns. In the UK, at least 5 student unions voted to cancel contracts with G4S, and students successfully pressured 2 other universities not to renew contracts with the company.
- •Major charities in South Africa, the Netherlands and elsewhere terminated contracts with G4S.
- •In June 2014, the Gates Foundation divested the whole of its $170m holding in the company as a result of an international campaign.
- •The US Methodist Church, the largest protestant church in the US, divested from G4S after coalition campaigning brought the issue to a vote.
G4S is feeling the pressure from these powerful BDS campaigns. At its June 2014 annual general meeting, G4S chairman John Connolly told shareholders that G4S “did not expect to renew” its contract with the Israeli Prison Service, and mentioned 2017 as a possible date by which it would end its involvement in Israel’s prison system. However, G4S has not set out this commitment in writing and continues to profit from Israel’s abhorrent prison system. A company that commits serious human rights abuses cannot be trusted to keep its word. Campaign pressure against G4S must continue until it entirely ends its role with the Israel Prison Service and all aspect of Israel’s apartheid regime!
*All statistics sourced from Addameer.org, CorporateWatch.org, and WhoProfits.org