THE THREE G4S guards who unlawfully killed Jimmy Mubenga in 2010 – when he was just 46 years old – using restraint holds as they were forcibly deporting him on board a plane that was due to take off from Heathrow to Angola, have at last been charged with manslaughter after the Crown Prosecution Service reviewed the case.
Mubenga complained that he could not breathe as the three guards used restraint holds that killed him.
No charges were previously brought against Colin Kaler, Terrence Hughes and Stuart Tribelnig, despite the ample evidence of what they had done. Then, last July, an inquest jury concluded that he had been unlawfully killed – a verdict that came after an eight-week hearing at Isleworth Crown Court.
The inquest heard that Kaler, Hughes and Tribelnig restrained Mubenga for 30 minutes, while passengers on board the plane heard Mubenga shout: ‘They’re going to kill me.’
Mubenga eventually stopped breathing and the plane was grounded before paramedics arrived, but he was pronounced dead soon after.
Now the CPS has found ‘sufficient evidence’ that ‘it is in the public interest to prosecute’. The three men will now face trial. Many people think that it is G4S that should be in the dock, but the CPS, after delaying any prosecutions for years, has decided there is insufficient evidence for charging G4S with corporate manslaughter.
The three men will now appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on April 7th.
Mubenga, an Angolan national, was being deported back to his native country when the G4S guards held him down and killed him.
The trial of the three must be the first step on the path to putting G4S in the dock on corporate manslaughter charges, and also putting it out of business. In fact, the three guards were arrested at the time of the killing but in 2012 the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to bring any charges.
That decision had to be reviewed after the inquest jury ruled Mubenga had been unlawfully killed.
G4S is one of the favourite privatisation vehicles favoured by the Tory-led government, and favoured by reactionary regimes all over the world. It consumes billions of taxpayers’ money but, as the security disaster at the London Olympics proved when the army had to be called in, it just cannot do the jobs it is given to do. It is, however, much cheaper than state-owned services where there is proper training and regulation.
G4S is also very popular in Israel. It provides services to the Israeli Prison Service. Prisons in Israel hold Palestinian political prisoners who have been arrested in the Occupied Territories and transferred to Israel in violation of the Geneva Convention.
Physical violence and torture of Palestinian prisoners, including child detainees, have been widely documented. G4S also provides security services to Israeli checkpoints and police, and to many private companies that operate in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. G4S has been repeatedly accused of abusing migrants in immigration detention centres and during forcible deportations.
A record 773 complaints were filed by detainees against G4S in 2010, including 48 claims of assault.
Despite the latest CPS decision not to prosecute G4S over the Mubenga killing, G4S whistleblowers had submitted evidence to the parliamentary select committee that the company managers had been repeatedly warned by staff that lethal force was being used on ‘disruptive deportees’.
In January 2008, an aboriginal elder from Western Australia was ‘cooked to death’ while being transported in a G4S van with no air conditioning or water. G4S was fined $285,000 after pleading guilty to failing to ensure the health and safety of Mr Ward.
G4S is one of the companies used to replace public services as the coalition government dismantles them. It is taking over police forces, prisons, welfare provision, housing, schools and hospitals.
G4S is exploiting prisoners’ labour in the six private prisons it runs in the UK. 400 G4S prisoners are made to work 40 hours a week for as little as £2 a day. It is an arm of the privatising state. It must be put into the dock for the Mubenga killing and the trade unions must take action to drive it and the other privateers out of the public services.