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Lawyer: Al-Sarsak ends hunger strike in release deal
Published Monday 18/06/2012 (updated) 20/06/2012 23:01
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Girls hold posters of soccer player Mahmoud al-Sarsak near Ramallah
on June 13. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Mahmoud al-Sarsak, on hunger strike in an Israeli jail for 92 days, agreed to start eating on Monday in a deal that will see him released on July 10, his lawyer said.

Mohammad Jaberein said al-Sarsak signed the agreement during his visit to the prisoner on Monday. Israeli prison authorities asked al-Sarsak to eat something in their presence to ratify the deal, after which he took a piece of chocolate from the lawyer, Jaberein said.

An Israeli prisons spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

Under the deal al-Sarsak will visit a civilian hospital for treatment on Tuesday, but the same day will return to Ramle prison clinic until his release on July 10, the lawyer added.

Physicians for Human Rights - Israel say the clinic is not equipped to treat long-term hunger strikers or manage the health risks when they return to eating, and has called for transfer of hunger strikers to civilian facilities.

The 25-year-old soccer player from the Gaza Strip has been imprisoned by Israel without charge or trial since July 2009.

According to prisoners group Addameer, al-Sarsak was told the next consideration of his release was set for August 22. An earlier offer to release him on July 1 in exchange for ending his hunger strike was withdrawn when he demanded the deal be put into writing, the group said.

He is the only person held under Israel’s Unlawful Combatants Law, which allows for Palestinians from Gaza to be detained for an unlimited amount of time without charge or trial.

Al-Sarsak had joined the local soccer team in his Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip at 14, becoming the youngest footballer to play in the Palestine Liga A at the time. The midfielder attracted the attention of a German coach while playing for the Palestine national team in Norway.

The first step was to play for a team in the West Bank. But Israeli security arrested him on July 22, 2009, at the Erez crossing from the blockaded Gaza Strip, the only route to Palestinian territory in the occupied West Bank.
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1 ) Richard SM / UK
18/06/2012 19:34
There was a women's Scotland v Israel football match on Saturday. The reception the Scottish fans gave Israel can be seen on a nice little 2 minute video at www. Mondoweiss .net

The 2 min video can also be viewed on Youtube. Google: "They're Useless Without Guns"

The title might give you clue about the final score. ;-)

2 ) Jan van Damme / Belgium
18/06/2012 19:49
Good job! Belgium support free Palestine!

3 ) ghada / palestine
18/06/2012 19:52
Salute to Freedom ......... Pray the rest to follow.

4 ) Anett / Germany
18/06/2012 21:26
I am very happy that it has for the young man a good end. love from Germany

5 ) Sarah / Holland
18/06/2012 22:24
I'm glad he is starting to eat, I (and a lot of people around the world) was/were very worried. But why wait untill july 10th? He already spend 3 years innocent in that damn prison. He should be released immediately.

6 ) joop jansen / The Netherlands
18/06/2012 22:52
This is very good news! The only wish I have that he will receive proper medical care - he must be a vegetable now! Stop the Israelian State Terror and Free Palestine from the zionists!

7 ) deb / UK
18/06/2012 23:39
It's tragic that a talented young man had to practically starve himself to death to win his freedom. The Israelis should hang their heads in shame.

8 ) Herman / the Netherlands
18/06/2012 23:42
All my admiration for the "SUMUD" of Al-Sarsak, but indeed Sarah, he should of course be released immediately. Thank you Ma'an News for always bringing us up to date Palestine News.

9 ) shirley / australia
19/06/2012 01:55
thank GOD one palestinian savednow for PA to show the same fortitude and courage of this young man and stop its sidestepping and lgo to UNGA and llock in pal state to secure the freedom and future of all palestinians

10 ) CARLOS / USA
19/06/2012 04:51
Many thanks to the FIFA players. They saved Sarsak and Sarsak saved Sarsak. I was writing my congressman and demanding the US state department intervene on Sarsaks behalf.

11 ) MUST READ / USA
19/06/2012 10:32
MEANWHILE: IDF attack detainees at Eshil Prison in Bir Shiva http://bit.ly/Ph6Zyn - article says soldiers forced 200 detainees under the sun for several hours, wounding 40 or more. soldiers attacked, kicked & clubbed the detainees, searched their rooms & beds, sabotaged their property, used dogs to search rooms/property of detainees, forced 16 detainees into solitary confinement, confiscated several fans & TV sets, and denied the detainees access to prison canteen. EGREGIOUS IZRAELI CRIMES!

12 ) Geoff / UK
19/06/2012 12:32
It's good to hear of the agreement. Yet UEFA still tries to insist that it is "apolitical" in awarding the 2013 U21 finals competition to Israel. Object through http://redcardapartheid.org and linked petitions.

13 ) Arn Dekker / UK
19/06/2012 12:44
What is to stop Israel from re-arresting Al-Sarsak as it has done several times to Mordechai Vanunu. Vanunu is, even today, under house arrest and unable to leave Israel. His 'crime' ? : informing the world of Israel's nuclear capabilities.

14 ) Ada / France
19/06/2012 12:56
I hope M. Al Sarsak will survive this trial and I wish him a happy and beautiful life, in free Palestine insh'Allah ! Our great countries (France, USA, GB, Germany, etc.) so fond of freedom, democracy and human rights when it comes to Arabic, African or Asian countries, do not want to put pressure on this scandalous zionist State of Israel because they are themselves ACTUALLY the real support for injustice and denial of human rights. We must denounce this ever and ever !

15 ) Raf Mc Spike / Italy
19/06/2012 13:08
I feel ashamed of the lack of media coverage by international press and italian in particular. Sarsak should be granted Rome honorary citizenship like they did for a non heroic prisoner like Shalit !!

16 ) Mohammed / UK
19/06/2012 20:07
Alhamdulillah!

17 ) Steven / Uk
20/06/2012 02:13
I don't see this as 'good news' as the damage from such a long hunger strike is highly likely to be irreversible for this incredible young man. My thoughts are with him and his family, and his situation keeps in focus the appalling breaches of common humanity shown by Israel to all Palestinians. Shame on them.

18 ) Viviana delle Rose / Venetian Republic
20/06/2012 03:37
LONG LIVE HERO MAHMOUD AL-SARSAK, LION OF PALESTINE!
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