PRESS RELEASE: IHRC demands the release of Palestinian hunger striker Mahmoud Sarsak

Mahmoud Sarsak

Sarsak has been detained without charge for three years.  He was arrested under the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law of 2002. 

Sarsak, a member of the Palestinian national soccer team, was arrested on 22 July 2009 at the Erez crossing on his way to join the Balata soccer club team in Nablus. Since being arrested, Sarsak has not been allowed to speak with his family as Israel prohibits security prisoners from using the telephone. Sarsak’s family has not been able to visit as Israel has prohibited family visits for all prisoners from the Gaza Strip.
According to the Israeli government he is an illegal combatant and therefore they can imprison him indefinitely.

To protest against his condition and lack of civil liberties, Sarsak currently is on a hunger strike. The 25-year old footballer has not eaten for 89 days and has lost approximately thirty kilos in weight. According to human rights organisation Addameer the situation of Mahmoud is critical.

IHRC is deeply concerned about Sarsak’s health and about his imprisonment and therefore asks for his immediate release from jail.

Chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh, said, “The fact that this is taking place during Euro 2012 and the media are silent of the plight of a professional footballer is outrageous.” He also called on people to “take action now, and call on the Israelis to release this young man.” [ENDS]


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