PCHR Welcomes FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s Statements
Palestinian Centre for Human
Date: 13 June 2012
PCHR Welcomes FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s Statements Regarding the Case of Palestinian National Footballer Mahmoud Al-Sarsek
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) welcomes the statement made by FIFA President, Mr. Sepp Blatter, criticizing the ongoing detention of Palestinian National Footballer, Mahmoud al-Sersek, by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).
In his urgent call to the Israel Football Association (IFA), as reported by fifa.com on Tuesday, 12 June 2012, Mr. Sepp Blatter expressed deep concern for the illegal detention of the Palestinian football player. Blatter called upon the IFA to bring this case to the attention of the competent Israeli authority.
It should be noted that al-Sarsak (25), a member of the Palestinian National Football Team from Rafah refugee camp in the south of the Gaza Strip, was arrested by the IOF on 15 July 2009 at Beit Hanoun "Erez" crossing, while he was traveling to the West Bank to join his new team, the Balata Sports Club, in Nablus. Since then, he has been detained as an "unlawful combatant" in the Negev prison in Israel Al-Sersek has been on an open-ended hunger strike since 19 March 2012 in protest to his detention without trial, his placement in solitary confinement and the denial of his right to family visitations. Due to his long hunger strike, his health has seriously deteriorated. It was reported that he has lost 30 kg and that he loses consciousness repeatedly. He also now has low blood sugar. He was transferred to the al-Ramla prison clinic, which lacks the equipment necessary for the provision of treatments needed for al-Sersek.
On Tuesday, 12 June 2012, PCHR Director Raji Sourani addressed FIFA President Sepp Blatter, pleading: "We urge you to use all available means, including approaching the relevant Israeli authorities, to save the life of Mr. Al-Sersek and help him return again to the football pitch."
“Your voice will constitute a message of hope for the thousands around the world who believe that sport, and football in particular, can contribute to enhancing human dignity,” Sourani added.