Ref: 64/2012


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 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.