G4S grilled over continuing involvement in Israeli occupation

PNN/Bethlehem/
Global security company G4S faced tough questioning in its annual meeting yesterday over its continued involvement in Israel and occupied Palestine.

G4S AGM was yesterday taken over by human rights campaigners who grilled Chief Executive Ashley Almanza and Chair John Connolly, demanding to know when G4S would discontinue its contracts with the Israeli Prison Service, police stations and Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Chair Hugh Lanning and executive committee member Salim Alam both attended the meeting

Almanza set a deadline for ‘the end of 2017’ but declined to specify further, saying that it was ‘impossible’ to give a month. He stressed that G4S was not ‘looking currently’ at renewing or entering into new contracts in Israel or the West Bank.

Connolly said that G4S has ‘been very clear that those contracts are not being renewed.’

He was asked by Alam to confirm these answers in writing, to which Connolly agreed.

Questions on G4S’s Israeli contracts dominated the two hour AGM, but other campaigners focused on the company’s dealings with UK prisons, housing for asylum seekers and Australian incarceration facilities.

The meeting was interrupted nine times as activists read out testimonies of Palestinian detainees, including children, who are held in, and have been tortured in, Israeli-G4S prisons.

Activists were forcibly removed by uniformed and plainclothes security guards.

In a statement made after the meeting, Lanning said that it was ‘outrageous that G4S still refuse to give shareholders the dates when their contracts with the Israel Prison Service, MoD and police will end.

‘So long as they do not provide precise dates, G4S’s reputation will remain at risk and it will continue to be a target for disinvestment.’

In April 2015, 20 South African companies announced the termination of their security contracts with G4S because of the group’s links to the Israel Prison Service.

In May 2015, the University of Helsinki cancelled its security contract with G4S, following a campaign by academics and students