Deal reached to free hunger striking athlete Mahmoud Sarsak

Mahmoud Sarsak’s lawyer has confirmed reports that a deal has been struck with Israel, prompting his release and putting an end to 92 days of hunger strike.

Mohammad Jabarin, lawyer of hunger striking Palestinian national football team’s midfielder Mahmoud Sarsak, has told Ma’an news agency that Sarsak will be released from prison on July 10, after three years without charge or trial, during which he was considered an “unlawful combatant.” The deal was struck after 92 days of Sarsak’s hunger strike. Sarsak’s life was considered at serious risk, and Israel was facing growing international pressure – most recently expressed by Eric Cantona, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, and an Israeli conscientious objector who started a solidarity hunger strike in military prison. Sarsak will gradually start to eat in the coming days while still in the hospital ward in prison. It is yet unclear whether permanent damage has been caused to his muscles.

Demonstration in Ramallah in support of Sarsak, today (Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills)
Demonstration in Ramallah in support of Sarsak, today (Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills)

This is the fourth concession of its kind that Israel has made in recent months, the first three with administrative detainees Khader Adnan, Hana Shalabi, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh. The deal with Adnan was struck after the 66th day of his hunger strike, and with Diab and Halahleh after they both passed the 80-day mark. Several other administrative detainees are still on strike.

Read also:

Hunger striking Palestinian footballer at risk of death
Eric Cantona, FIFA head demand release of Palestinian footballer