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Thursday May 24, 2012 9:06 PM (EST+7)
Rights group warns Israel breaching prisoner deal

Read more: prisoners, detainees, hunger strike, Mahmoud Sarsak, Adammeer, human rights, football, sport

RAMALLAH, May 24 (JMCC) - A human rights group has charged Israeli officials with breaking the terms of a deal to end the prolonged hunger strike of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.

The rights group Addameer said in a press release that numerous orders for administrative detention, a practice of holding Palestinians without trial, have been issued since the agreement earlier this month. The deal included a promise to limit the use of administrative detention.

It also said that one of the longest-striking prisoners, Bilal Diab, had been denied a visit from his mother by prison officials, despite the agreement to allow such visits.

Addameer's lawyer, Mona Naddef visited five prisoners on Wednesday, among them footballer Mahmoud Sarsak, who is one of two prisoners that remain on hunger strike. Sarsak, from Gaza and refusing food for 67 days, is being held under more stringent rules than most prisoners and has not yet being given a release date, despite being promised that he would be released in July.

Sarsak, 25, is a member of the Palestinian football team and was arrested three years ago on his way to play a match in the West Bank. He has never been charged with any crime and his father pleads for his release on this blog:

Mahmoud started a hunger strike on 19th March 2012 to protest being held without charge or trial, demanding to be informed of the reasons for his three year detention and to be allowed to defend himself, as is his most basic right under international law. After starting his hunger strike he was transferred to Naqab prison on 8th April and then moved to solitary confinement at Eshel prison. On 16th April he was transferred to Ramleh prison hospital as a result of his deteriorating health. He is now on his 67 day of hunger strike, an extremely dangerous milestone that could see his death at any moment.


For us it is unbearable to see Israel has been awarded the hosting of the UEFA Under 21s football championship in 2013 and gears up to participate in the London Olympics, while it routinely arrests, tortures, imprisons and kills Palestinians, including football players, without consequence. This is not fair play. Sports should show solidarity.

As Mahmoud’s family, we call on all people of conscience to demand his immediate release, and to pressure governments and international organisations to force Israel’s compliance with the most basic standards of international law. In particular we ask fellow football players and athletes to speak out in support of Mahmoud – don’t be silent when Israeli cruelty and arbitrariness has destroyed the aspirations of a rising athlete and keeps thousands under inhumane conditions in their jails. We ask sports teams and anti-racist fan clubs to organize in support of Mahmoud and all the other Palestinian political prisoners. Your voice can contribute to saving his life and to a little victory against injustice.

Some 1,400 prisoners ended a prolonged hunger strike on May 15 after Israel promised to renew visits from family in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, end the practice of solitary confinement where some prisoners had been kept for years, and limit the use of administrative detention.







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