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Date: Thu 13 June 2013

Palestinian footballer joins UNISON in call for sporting boycott of Israel

Mahmoud Sarsak Meeting 12.30pm - Friday 14th June 2013
UNISON, 14 West Campbell Street, GLASGOW G2 6RX

Palestinian international footballer Mahmoud Sarsak – recently released from detention by the occupying Israeli forces after a three month hunger strike - will speak about his nation’s struggle for international recognition at a public meeting in Glasgow tomorrow (Friday 14 June)

Public service union UNISON, which has been a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, is hosting the event.

Sam Macartney, Chair of UNISON Scotland International Committee, said:
“It is a huge honour to welcome Mahmoud Sarsak to Scotland. We share Mahmoud’s love of the beautiful game and we share his passion for justice for his people.

“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.

“UNISON members value the contribution of sport to society – whether it be in Scotland or in Palestine. 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.”

ENDS

OPERATIONAL NOTE / INTERVIEW and PICTURE OPPORTUNITY

The meeting will take place on Friday, 14 June at 12.30 pm
at UNISON, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow, G2 6RX

The meeting will be Chaired by Sam Macartney, Chair of UNISON Scotland International Committee. There will also be a chance to hear from Terri Mclaughlin, UNISON activist and nurse who was detained by Israel on her last visit to Palestine.

Mahmoud Sarsak will be available to speak to press and for pictures from 1.45pm

Buffet lunch provided

For information please contact:
Simon Macfarlane, Regional Organiser, 07703 194132
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, 07876 566 978
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, 0141 342 2877 or 07508 877 000

Notes to editors:

1. In 2009 Israel arrested Palestinian national football team member Mahmoud Sarsak, then aged 22, and detained him for three years without charge or trial and without visits from his family.

2. On 10 July 2012, Sarsak was released after a three-month hunger strike in protest at his detention.

3. Mahmoud Sarsak is speaking across Scotland this month about his experience as a Palestinian living in Gaza, his time as a political prisoner, and what we can do in Scotland in solidarity with Palestinians under occupation and apartheid.

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