Showing posts with label Mahmoud Sarsak. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mahmoud Sarsak. Show all posts

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mahmoud Sarsak to be Freed After Months of Hunger Strike and Global Solidarity

According to his attorney, Palestinian soccer star Mahmoud Sarsak will be released from Israeli detention on July 10th after a three month hunger strike. Mahmoud, 25, has been held by Israel without charge or trial since his abduction by Israeli forces in 2009. He began his hunger strike on March 19th in protest of his imprisonment, refusing any nourishment until last week when, near death, he accepted milk while Israeli authorities reconsidered his demands.

Despite a dearth of mainstream media attention, Sarsak's cause had begun to gain support around the globe. Frederic Kenoute, Eric Cantona, and two dozen other European sports figures expressed support for Sarsak. FIFA President Sepp Blatter and FIFpro, the international association of football players, also expressed solidarity. Meanwhile, soccer fans at the Scotland-Israel Euro 2013 women’s qualifier chanted "Free Mahmoud Sarsak" and "Free Palestine" while French activists protested at a supermarket selling Israeli goods in Bordeaux.  Recently, according to Haaretz, an Israeli reservist imprisoned for refusing to partake in the occupation of Palestine began his own hunger strike "in solidarity [with the Palestinians], and in order to raise awareness on the issue of administrative detention."

Scottish soccer fans stand in solidarity with Mahmoud Sarsak

Despite the news of Sarsak's release, Ali Abuminah of the Electronic Intifada urges caution in the face of this victory.  Israel has been slow to implement the terms which ended a similar hunger strike among Palestinian prisoners in May.  Further, there is no word on Akram Rikhawi, now 68 days into his own hunger strike in Israeli detention. 

Israel to free footballer Mahmoud Sarsak after epic 3-month hunger strike, lawyer says
Read more here

Monday, June 11, 2012

Palestinian Soccer Star Mahmoud Sarsak at Risk of Death, 85 Days Into Hunger Strike

According to a report released yesterday by Samidoun, The Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Mahmoud Sarsak is at grave risk of death on his 85th day of a hunger strike against his three year detention by Israel. The 25 year old Palestinian soccer star was abducted by Israeli forces in 2009 while traveling from his home in Gaza to the West Bank in order to train with the Palestinian national soccer team.  Since, he has been held without charge or trial under Israel's "unlawful combatants law."

Sarsak began his hunger strike on March 19th, 2012 after the strikes of  Khader Adnan and Hana’ Shalabi, who were similarly held by Israel without charge or trial.  84 days in, according to Physicians for Human Rights and Addameer, "He has lost 33 percent of his body weight, from an original weight of 76 kilos down to his present weight of 51 kilos. He also suffers from frequent incidents of fainting and loss of consciousness, in addition to lapses in memory. The doctor further reported that Mahmoud is in danger of pulse disruptions (arrhythmias) that are endangering his life." Despite his dire state, Israel refuses to transfer him to a civilian hospital for treatment.  

Palestinian human rights organizations have called for international action and solidarity with Sarsak and his fellow hunger strikers, including Akram Al-Rikhawi (57 days), and Samer al-Barq (22 days).  In a letter from Sarsak and Al-Riljhawi to the public, the strikers asserted "we will remain on our strike until all our demands are met and we will not submit to the demands of the Prison Service regardless of what we suffer...," but appealed for international support, stating "there is still enough time and the support that comes late is better than that which does not come at all. It is better that you receive us alive and victorious rather than as lifeless bodies in black bags."  

Sarsak's family has also released a video calling for his freedom.

Please take this opportunity to stand up for justice for Mahmoud Sarsak and all Palestinian political prisoners!

Take Action!

1. Sign a letter demanding the Israeli state transfer Mahmoud Sarsak, Akram Rikhawi and Samer al-Barq immediately to hospitals and release them. Tell the Israeli Prison Services that the world is watching! Click here to sign.

2. Call the office of Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs at the US State Department (202-647-7209) and demand the US intervene on Mahmoud Sarsak's behalf by asking Israel to release him immediately.

3. Tweet this to the State Department and Barack Obama letting them know that it is time they stand up for Palestinian human rights.