A British private security company that has been accused of numerous human rights violations has been handed a $118 million deal by the Pentagon to provide "operating support services" for the Guantanamo Bay naval base that houses the U.S. military's notorious prison.
The Department of Defense announced earlier this week that G4S has been granted the contract to provide services that include "family housing, facility management, facility investment, other (swimming pools), custodial, pest control, integrated solid waste management, grounds maintenance and landscaping, base support vehicles and equipment, electrical, wastewater, water, and limited facilities support functions." The statement did not mention any duties relating to the Guantanamo Bay prison, which currently holds 149 men without charge or trial.
But Kat Craig, legal director for UK-based legal charity Reprieve, told the Independent that "G4S must make clear exactly what the nature of its work at Guantanamo is."
"Any company which associates itself with the legal black hole which is Guantanamo Bay has serious questions to answer," she added. "Guantanamo has been the site of detention without trial and brutal mistreatment for over a decade—even now, Reprieve's clients are being subjected to torturous force-feedings in response to their peaceful protests."
British authorities are currently investigating G4S for fraud, following evidence that the company over-charged for the electronic monitoring of incarcerated people, including alleged prisoners who were actually dead.
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The largest "private security" company in the world, G4S became the target of a global boycott campaign following revelations of its role in Israel's occupation of the Palestinian people. G4S signed a deal with the Israeli Prison Authority in 2007 to provide "security" for five prisons that hold large numbers of Palestinians—many of them children—who are denied due process. These facilities have proven track records of at times deadly torture and abuse. Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat was tortured to death at Israel's Megiddo prison in February 2013—where G4S provides security and surveillance systems.
The company fell under international criticism when 46-year-old Angolan man Jimmy Mubenga died in 2010 while in the custody of G4S guards while being deported from Britain. Witnesses say the guards used excessive force as Mubenga cried for help approximately 50 times.
G4S also faces numerous allegations that people detained in its Mangaung prison in South Africa face widespread torture, including forced injections and electric shocks.
"G4S has a horrible human rights track record," Ramah Kudaimi of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation told Common Dreams. "It would be much better if the U.S. did not award contracts to companies with horrendous track records and itself stopped human rights abuses at Guantanamo."