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Kent student union cuts out 'rights abusers' G4S

G4S provides security and incarceration "services" to Israeli military bases, checkpoints, illegal settlements and prisons

Kent University students' union is terminating a contract with security firm G4S over its role in human rights abuses in Palestine, South Africa, Britain and elsewhere.

G4S provides security and incarceration "services" to Israeli military bases, checkpoints, illegal settlements and prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to abuse and torture.

But the company also provides Kent Union with cash-handling services.

This week the union will hold a referendum over whether to campaign to press the University of Kent to cancel its own contract with G4S.

Kent union officer Tom Currie said yesterday the cancellation decision was taken following a "huge outcry" among students after details of G4S's human rights abuses were highlighted on campus by campaigners.

Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer welcomed the union's decision.

As well as its role in Israeli apartheid, campaigning Kent students also cited G4S's involvement in human rights abuses while operating a South African prison and in the deportation of asylum-seekers from Britain.

British authorities are investigating the firm's role in the death of Jimmy Mubenga while being restrained by G4S guards on a deportation flight in 2010.

Student campaigns last year helped prevent the awarding of multimillion-pound contracts to G4S at universities in London and Southampton.

And university unions in Edinburgh and Durham have also ended contracts with G4S.

The British office of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is to investigate G4S's role in Israel.

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