Friday, 14 June 2013

Mahmoud Sarsak urges strong support for Israel boycott on visit to Glasgow

Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak urged a packed meeting of trade unionists in Glasgow today to keep up the boycott pressure on Israel.The fomer political detainee and hunger striker  gave a harrowing account of being tortured during his three years held without charge or trial or visits from family.
Speaking at a meeting in UNISON's Glasgow offices, he described what happened to him after he was detained by the Israeli security services in July 2009, when they took "both my dignity and my freedom."
Mahmoud said he and others, including child prisoners, were abused and suffered medical neglect.

During his 96 day hunger strike, he saw "death in many different colours and many different ways." He added: "Today I come here to tell everyone about the other Palestinians who continue to be in jail, continue to be tortured and in pain."
He asked those present to continue to boycott Israel so that "the world will know and finally we will be able to break the occupation of Palestine."

Sam Macartney, chair of UNISON Scotland's International Committee, said it was an honour to welcome Mahmoud to Scotland and that the union's members share his passion for justice for his people.

He added: "We believe time is up for the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The cultural boycott of Israel is taking off and now we need a real push on a sporting boycott.

"The detention of Mahmoud Sarsak for three years without charge or trial or access to his family during his prime footballing years was an attack on him and on the spirit of football. Palestinian young people - and young Scots too - need sporting heroes like Mahmoud."

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