Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Blog

Palestinian soccer player Mahmoud Sarsak has been on hunger strike for 86 days, protesting his indefinite detention by Israel without charge or trial. He was on the verge of imminent death, but was impelled by his lawyer to drink some milk to prolong his life until his court hearing on Thursday. Sarsak  vowed to “refuse all supplements until his death” if he wasn’t cleared for release at his Thursday court hearing.

Many notable figures have protested Israel’s illegal indefinite detention of Palestinians, and an impressive addition to the list was a recent statement released by FIFA, noting that its president Joseph Blatter has expressed “grave concern and worry” about Sarsak’s detention. The statement goes on to read:

The reports FIFA received state that in apparent violation of their integrity and human rights and without the apparent right of a due process (trial), several Palestine football players have allegedly been illegally detained by Israeli authorities. In particular, the mentioned reports refer to the Palestine player Mahmoud Sarsak, whose health is in a very delicate state due to the fact that he has been undergoing a hunger strike for approximately 90 days in protest of his alleged illegal detention.

The statement concludes with FIFA “urgently call[ing] on IFA to draw the attention of the Israeli competent authorities to the present matter, with the aim of ensuring the physical integrity of the concerned players as well as their right for due process.”

With international attention rising on the state of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails (thanks to their brave non-violent protests), there is no way around this one for Israel: either stop denying Palestinian detainees their basic rights or face growing international criticism and condemnation.

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