Palestinian Soccer Star To Be Freed From Detention

Mahmoud Sarsak Agrees To End Three-Month Hunger Strike

By Simi Lampert

Published June 18, 2012.
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Palestinian soccer star Mahmoud Sarsak, who was been jailed by Israel for nearly three years, is reportedly going to be released next month after agreeing to end a three-month hunger strike that attracted worldwide attention.

Sarsak, a midfielder on the Palestinian national team, was arrested at a West Bank checkpoint and accused of terrorist activities in cooperation with Islamic Jihad. Sarsak was labeled an “unlawful combatant,” but denies all allegations made against him.

In order to survive the hunger strike, Sarsak agreed to injections and the occasional drink of milk. Despite these efforts, Sarsak’s physical condition has worsened.

Sarsak’s plight drew the support of several international soccer stars. The president of soccer’s governing body, FIFA, asked Israel’s soccer federation for help and FIFPro, an international organization of soccer players, called for his release.

A deal was struck June18 between Israeli officials and attorney Mohammed Jabareen calling for Sarsak’s release on July 10.


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