Home Prisoner Abuse South African Prisons South African prisoners sue G4S over torture claims

South African prisoners sue G4S over torture claims

Photograph: Sizwe Ndingane / Barcroft Media
Photograph: Sizwe Ndingane / Barcroft Media

A group of South African prisoners are suing G4S over abuse they allege they suffered in a Bloemfontein prison run by the British security company.

British law firm Leigh Day, which is representing the 43 prisoners, sent an urgent letter to the company’s UK headquarters in Crawley on Thursday.

The inmates claim they were given electric shocks, forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs and held in isolation cells for up to three years. The firm is also acting for the mother of an inmate who died in custody.

“The instructions we have received from our clients attest to a culture of abuse and fear that appears to have been endemic in Mangaung Correctional Centre for years,” the letter to G4S reads. “Many allegations involve inmates being taken to solitary cells where there are no cameras, stripped naked and forced on to a metal bed with water thrown on them before being repeatedly shocked with electric shields, including to the head and genitals.”

If the claim is successful, it will be a landmark case for prisoners held by the biggest security provider in the world, with revenues worth £7.4bn. G4S won a 25-year R15bn (about £820m) contract from the South African government to construct, run and manage the prison in 2000.

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