G4S is the UK's biggest private security company, with its government contracts alone worth over £600 million. Responsible for security services, managing detention centres, prisons, and 675 court and police station holding cells, G4S have also just been granted the £100 million contract for providing 10,000 security guards for the upcoming olympics.

Whilst G4S still seem to be government favourites, their record is far from spotless. The firm lost their previous 'forcible deportation' contract last September after receiving 773 complaints of abuse – both verbal and physical. The final straw came with the death of Jimmy Mubenga in October 2010, an Angolan asylum seeker who died as a result of his forced deportation by G4S guards. Two of the guards are on bail facing criminal charges, whilst G4S is still waiting to hear whether they are to face corporate manslaughter charges.

Now, asylum seekers in Yorkshire and Humberside are expected to accept this multi-national, money-hungry, security company as their landlords.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

No Justice for Jimmy Mubenga: G4S guards will not face charges

Ironically, on the same day that G4S' managing director Nick Buckles and Global Events manager Ian Horseman Sewell faced a Home Affairs Select Committee meeting about their failures to provide sufficient security staff for the Olympics, it has been revealed that neither G4S guards nor the company as a whole will face charges for the death of Jimmy Mubenga 21 months ago. 

Gaon Hart, senior crown advocate in the CPS special crime division, cited "conflicting witness accounts" about the manner of Mubenga's restraint as reasoning for insufficient evidence, despite the fact that the counsel found there was a "breach of duty" in the way Mubenga was held. He continued:
"In light of this, the experts unanimously concluded that given Mr Mubenga's physiological condition, having been in an agitated state before he died, they could not rule out that his death may have been caused by a combination of factors such as adrenalin, muscle exhaustion or isometric exercise.[...] It is not enough to tell a jury what may have caused a person's death; I have to have sufficient evidence that there is a realistic prospect of proving it to them beyond reasonable doubt, and in these circumstances the evidence did not satisfy that test."
Deborah Coles, the co-director of Inquest, a charity that helps to support the families of people who die in custody,  was understandably disappointed by the hearing:
"This is a shameful decision that flies in the face of the evidence about the dangerous use of force used against people being forcibly removed and the knowledge base that existed within G4S and the Home Office about the dangers of restraint techniques. It once again raises concerns about the quality of the investigations into deaths following the use of force by state agents and the decision-making process of the CPS." 
The court did find that there were serious short-comings in G4S' training for their deportation guards, but decided that this did not provide concrete proof that the guards in question - or the company as a whole - could be held responsible for the death of Jimmy Mubenga.

So as the whole country publicly abuses G4S for their inability to provide 13,000 security guards for the Olympic Games, it is worth remembering that the outcry after the death of Jimmy Mubenga was substantially quieter. Whilst G4S no longer hold the contract for forcible deportation, detainees are still at risk from excessive restraint techniques used by guards from another private security company, Reliance Security. Donna Covey, of the Refugee Council, made the following statement:  

“It is concerning that no individual or organisation is being held responsible for the tragic death of Jimmy Mubenga during a removal flight following the CPS’ decision today. Until this happens, the lives of people who continue to be enforcibly removed from the UK by security firms using dangerous restraint techniques remain at risk.
“The excessive use of restraint on detainees is unacceptable, and if enforced removals must be carried out, they must always be done in the safest way possible. The UK has a commitment to protecting people seeking safety in this country, so the UKBA and their sub-contractors must ensure those who have not been found to need protection here are at the very least returned to their home countries unharmed.”

Jimmy Mubenga will be remembered as devoted father and husband who died whilst in the hands of G4S. Whilst the company and the guards may never face charges, history and our memories will always tell a different story.

No comments:

Post a Comment