G4S stonewalls questions over involvement in Guantánamo Bay

November 7, 2014

British security company G4S is refusing to address concerns over its involvement in the running of the US prison at Guantánamo Bay.

Human rights charity Reprieve submitted a complaint to the UK government earlier this year, arguing that G4S has breached OECD Guidelines because of its contract to supply ‘base support operating services’ at Guantánamo Bay. The nature of support services provided by G4S are not made clear, and the company has refused to give further details about the $113 million contract, prompting concerns that G4S could be contributing to the abuse of detainees at the prison.

In a reply to the National Contact Point, the government body through which the complaint was submitted, G4S made no attempt to address the substantive allegations of the complaint. Instead the company argued that they have little control over G4S Government Solutions, its wholly-owned US subsidiary that won the Guantánamo contract.

G4S is a long-standing contractor for the British government, receiving millions of pounds annually in public money. Guantánamo has been called “a shocking affront to democracy” by a former government minister, and “a monstrous failure of justice” by Lord Steyn, formerly one of Britain’s most senior judges.

The UK Government’s NCP has suggested to Reprieve that it might pass the complaint to its US counterpart, prompting concerns they will avoid responsibility for investigating the it.

148 men remain held without charge or trial in Guantánamo – including British resident Shaker Aamer who was cleared for release from the prison under the Bush administration in 2007 and again under President Obama in 2009. It is UK government policy that Mr Aamer should be returned as a matter of urgency to his British wife and their four children in London, yet he remains detained.

Kevin Lo, an investigator at Reprieve, said:  “G4S is deeply involved in running the legal black hole that is Guantánamo Bay, and the British public deserves better than the company’s stonewalling of questions. For the UK government to show that its condemnation of Guantánamo is more than just talk, the UK National Contact Point needs to press G4S for accountability and transparency.”

ENDS

1. For further information, please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve’s press office on: (00 44) 207 553 8161

2. The complaint can be read in full, here.