Hunger-strike footballer strikes deal with Israel

Added by on June 18, 2012

Gaza scooer player Mahmud Sarsak, who has been refusing food for three months over being held in an Israeli jail without charge, on Monday agreed a deal with Israel for his early release, his lawyer said.

“A deal was reached half an hour ago which will see Mahmud end his hunger strike in exchange for early release on July 10,” explained lawyer Mohammed Jabarin.

“He will be transferred tomorrow to a civilian hospital to receive treatment, and on July 10 he will return to Gaza.”

Sarsak has been held by Israel since July 2009 under the so-called “unlawful combatants” law, and his current detention order had been due to expire, or be renewed, on August 22.

He began refusing food in a protest which has recently garnered international attention, with world football governing body FIFA and rights group Amnesty International expressing concern over his ongoing detention.

When he was arrested, he had been on his way to sign on with a West Bank football team.

Israeli officials have called Sarsak an “Islamic Jihad terrorist who planned attacks and bombings,” but have not made public any charges or evidence against him.

Sarsak has been on hunger strike since March 23, despite a brief pause in mid-April. His lawyer has explained Sarsak in recent weeks has been taking vitamins, sugar, and drinking milk, .