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Protest holds G4S complicit in Israel's childrens dungeon

6 May 2013

On 3rd May 2013 human rights activists protested outside the UK head-office of private security firm G4S for their complicity in Israel's children's dungeon in Al-Jalame prison. G4S secures Israel's notorious Al-Jalame prison near Haifa where Defence of Children International has catalogued the most horrendous conditions children as young as 12 years old are caged in, some for 65 days in solitary confinement.

G4S head office on fifth floor..


British-Danish security firm G4S has a long history of working hand in hand with the Israeli Prison Service to help secure its prisons and interrogation centres where Palestinian political prisoners, including children, are tortured and caged.

After 8 months of regular protests by the Palestinian Prisoners Campaign* outside the front door of their headquarters in London it's clear that G4S is feeling the heat. Just after the last protest, on 21 April 2013, the Financial Times reporting that

"G4S to quit key contracts in Israel.. with sporadic international protests continuing both outside the FTSE 100’s headquarters in London and internationally, the company said it would exit the contracts covering Ofer, the checkpoints and the West Bank police headquarters when they terminate in 2015."

and further, quoting Kean Marden, an analyst at Jefferies US investment bank:

“G4S Israel may be next to be divested? The Israel/Palestine conflict has created reputational issues. In our view the potential disposal of G4S Israel could be announced as soon as the 25 June capital markets day.”

At this critical time it's imperative that efforts should be doubled to pressure G4S to totally divest from Israel, not just the West Bank. So the issue of child prisoners and G4S secured prisons in 48 Palestine, outside of the West Bank - those prisons G4S has so far not indicated that they will quit, were chosen as the focus of this protest. In response to our earlier demonstrations which had focused on child prisoners, the company had issued a statement in January which falsely claimed they were not involved with any prisons that hold children, clearly it was an embarrassment for them. So it was decided to expose them by focusing on child prisoners being held in Al-Jalame detention / interrogation centre near Haifa in Israel for which G4S provides the full security system.

G4S secured childrens dungeon - Israel's Al Jalame Prison

This leaflet proved to be very popular..

G4S's dirty secret - Al- Jalame prison

Al Jalame has come to be known as Israel's children's dungeon with its infamous cell 36 of which so many children have testified about. Deep inside Al Jalame prison, three floors below the surface are located tiny childrens cells, black holes, where Palestinian children as young as 12 years old are caged in solitary confinement, some for 65 days. In a Guardian interview two children described cell 36: "The cell is 2m long by 1m wide, its as big as a mattress, without the toilet. You put down the mattress and in front is the toilet.. There is no window.. the air chokes you.". The room is barely wider than the thin dirty mattress which covers the floor. Its a very thin mattress, only 5cm thick. The yellow light is kept on 24 hours a day to inhibit sleeping whilst the walls have sharp protrusions preventing the child from leaning against them for support. The delivery of food through a locked flap in the door is the only way of marking time, dividing day from night. The breakfast tray is dropped through the flap in the door 30cm from the floor at 4am. If the tray isn't caught in time the food will spill on the floor and the child will be punished if he doesn't finish the food. Where the mattress finishes is a low concrete wall behind which is a hole in the ground toilet. The stench from the toilet has no escape in the windowless room.

The only escape the children have from this cage is the interrogation room where the children, shackled by hands and feet, are abused by Israeli secret police for over 6 hours at a time, until they confess, usually to throwing a stone which carries a penalty of up to 20 years. The children described the gruelling 6 hour interrogation sessions: "On the ground is an iron ring, he puts the cuffs through it with your hands locked on either side. he cuffs your ankles to the chair legs.. You cannot move.. like a statue. They said they would arrest my father and mother and bring them here if I didn't confess. They said "You are forcing us to bring them here, understand that I have the state of Israel behind me, behind you is nothing." Children have testified to being sexually assaulted by the interrogators and threatened with sodomy with an object in order to coerce a confession at Ofer prison which is also secured by G4S. During interrogation at time of arrest before entering the facility children have testified to Israeli soldiers using attack dogs. One boy described how after being shackled so he couldn't move, dog food was placed on his head and the attack dog unleashed to eat off his head, he described his fear as the dogs saliva dripped down his face. They then placed dog food near the boys genitals..

*The Palestinian Prisoners Campaign was launched by Innovative Minds (inminds.com) and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (ihrc.org) on Al-Quds Day 2012. The campaign aims to raise awareness for the plight of Palestinian prisoners and build solidarity for their struggle and work towards their freedom.

Mother and son learn about G4S's complicity in torture of Palestinian children

People keen to learn the truth

On the way home from work, but taking the time to learn why we are protesting outside his work place.

Stopping to read about G4S's complicity in Israel's crimes

Arafat Jaradat - Tortured to death in G4S secured Israeli prison

The Protest

As we arrived at G4S HQ we were surprised to be greeted by policeman already there waiting for us. We hadn't seen policeman at these protests since our peaceful occupation of the G4S building foyer a few months back. The presence of the police didn't stop the building security from bolting their doors as per usual.

Rather than keep all our A0 size information posters taped to the pavement together in one place we decided to scatter them, positioning them at strategic angles and locations such as one facing the door the G4S building so people leaving the building could not avoid it. Our protest was till 6:30pm so we had an opportunity to engage with G4S staff who leave the building 6pm onwards.

The focus on G4S run Israeli children's dungeon drew a lot of strong reaction from the public, even from a G4S employee who was entering the building was shocked at what his company was up to. The leaflets with the strong visuals focusing on G4S secured Israeli children's dungeon and interrogation room proved very popular with the public, and although we had nearly doubled our usual print run we still nearly ran out!

Its a difficult time slot to engage with the public as most are tired and rushing home after a days work, but never the less it was interesting to see so many people took the time to fully read the posters, some of them G4S employees leaving the building. Tory peer of the House of Lords, Lord Sheikh visited the protest twice, the second time spending considerable time going through the posters, read about G4S's nasty business. All in all a very successful protest.

Video courtesy Mr Alex Seymour

Workers leaving G4S building confronted with truth about company

G4S head office on fifth floor..

G4S employees leaving building confronted with truth about company - G4S secured Israeli childrens dungeon

G4S employees leaving the office - looking anywhere but at the crimes G4S is complicit with

There is always one - he left the G4S office and made a bee-line to the poster on G4S secured Israeli childrens dungeon and walked on it!

Source: www.inminds.com

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