jueves, 31 de enero de 2013

Mahmoud Sarsak, football player and ex-political prisoner

Mahmoud Sarsak visiting Palestine Stadium in Gaza City for the first time, after it was destroyed by Israeli forces on November 2012.

Mahmoud Sarsak (26) was travelling to Nablus to play with his new football team, the Balata Youth; when he was detained at Erez crossing, situated at the north of the Gaza Strip on July 2009. Although he was given permision to travel to the West Bank by Israeli authorities prior to his departure, he was arrested and taken to prison in Asdod. He would spend the next three years in prison without being formally accused of any crime, and at some points he endured torture and long periods under solitary confinement. In March 2012, after the sixth renewal of his administrative detention (a procedure where people can be held in prison without being accused of any crime) he began a hunger strike that would last almost three months. Due to his hunger strike and the pressure exercised by dozens of solidarity calls from all over the world (which included the ones sent by football players such as Eric Cantona and Frédéric Kanouté) he was finally released in July 2012.

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