PRESS RELEASE: Grand "Mufti" and "Imam" of Jerusalem issues edict against G4S security and calls on Saudi Arabia to cancel G4S Hajj contract
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Head of the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem and Imam of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, has issued an edict against G4S security and has called on Saudi Arabia to cancel all its contracts with the controversial security company due to G4S' involvement in Israel's incarceration, detention and torture of Palestinian political prisoners.
Sabri made the decree at a press conference co-convened with the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel National Committee (BNC) that called on Saudi Arabia to cancel all its contracts with G4S and in particular its controversial "Hajj" contract allowing the British company to provide security during this year's annual Muslim "hajj" pilgrimage. Sabri said: “[G4S] has activities and commitments in areas under Israeli occupation. Those who help the [Israeli] occupation [such as G4S] must be held accountable and are complicit in the crime, as those who help aggressors also are aggressors.” In 2007 G4S, was contracted to provide and maintain security equipment at Israeli prisons. The equipment includes monitoring systems, cameras and control rooms in which Palestinians are detained without trial and subjected to torture (http://stopadcampaign.com/?p=2711).
The edict by Sabri is one of the many calls in recent weeks being made to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to cancel its G4S contracts, (particularly its G4S contract providing services for the annual Muslim "Hajj" pilgrimage) due to the company's complicity in Israel's prison system (find a letter by BDS South Africa to the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Pretoria here: http://tinyurl.com/plneoev).
G4S is facing increasing criticism and pressure for its activities in Israel. Last week the Norwegian trade union, Industri Energi, terminated its contract with G4S as “an act of solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people.” Early last week, in the UK, the East London Teachers Association (ELTA) passed a motion condemning G4S’s complicity in Israel’s prison system, "unlawful detention and torture [of Palestinians]" which it termed as "profoundly unethical". The University of Oslo, Dundee University Student Union, the UK energy company Good Energy, several businesses and various human rights organizations across Europe have all recently also cut ties with G4S due to the company's complicity in Israel's illegal settlements, illegal detention and torture of Palestinian political prisoners as well as G4S' violation of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. In 2005 Palestinians issued a call to the international community for a program and campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to be applied against Israel as a non-violent method to pressure Israel to end its violations of international law, respect Palestinian human rights and engage in fair negotiations for a just peace. The Palestinian call for BDS is based and inspired by the successful boycott of Apartheid South Africa. G4S has sought to deflect pressure from campaigners and boycott activists by announcing that it "intends" to pull out of "some" of its contracts relating to its operations in Israel's illegal settlements (but not from Israel's prisons). However, to date, G4S has not withdrawn from a single contract. The company remains deeply complicit in Israel’s abhorrent prison system.
Locally in South Africa G4S has come under criticism from the Department of Correctional Services, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) for its role in the recent incidents of violence at the Mangaung Correctional Services Centre, the related dismissal of over 300 POPCRU affiliated workers and for its complicity in Israel's prison system, detention and torture of Palestinian political activists.
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