Don’t let Mahmoud Sarsak die

Act now for the Palestinian football player
On the 76th day of his Hunger Strike, Mahmoud Sarsak’s life is in immediate danger. Yet the Israeli racist regime is building on our fatigue after the latest mass Hunger Strike and the successful solidarity campaign and is deliberately trying to drive Mahmoud to his death.

Unlike Khader Adnan, who was transferred to the Safad Hospital, Mahmoud and Akram Rikhawi, who is on his 52nd day of strike, are intentionally denied proper medical care. On May 30, the Israeli court gave the prison authorities a long period, till June 10, until they should even allow the two striking prisoners access to independent doctors, in spite of the immediate danger to their lives!

The mass hunger strike achieved a promise to release most Palestinian prisoners that are held without charge under administrative detention and to tighten the criteria for such detention. But Mahmoud Sarsak is held under another clause, “Illegal Enemy Combatant”, without charge and without trial and with even less legal supervision.

After almost three years in detention all that we know about Mahmoud Sarsak from Rafah, in the Gaza strip, is that he was a football player for the Palestinian National Team. He was not caught in battle or hiding. On July 22, 2009, he arrived at the Erez checkpoint on his way to the West Bank after getting an Israeli permission to join the team in a match in Balata. Upon his arrival he was arrested, interrogated for 30 days and since then he is held without charge or trial.

It is not so hard for Israel to charge Palestinians and sentence them to long periods in prison for the flimsiest of charges. In fact, in Israel’s military courts the rights of Palestinian defendants are not protected in any way. Israeli civilian courts “believe” any lie that is told by the Shabak and tend to give Palestinians that are accused of breaching”state security” even harsher verdicts than their military counterparts. In fact, when somebody gets 2-4 years of imprisonment all the people around him will say: “You see, we knew all along that they have nothing against him!”

So, as Mahmoud Sarsak is held without charge or trial, it is only because Israel wants to show that it can do it. When they try to drive him to his death now, it is in order to break the new protest movement and show that the lives, like the freedom, of Palestinians have no value and no protection.

There is a lot that you can do about it:

You can organize or participate in a demonstration.

You can make a protest vigil.

You can publish or share on Facebook or other media.

You can write graffiti.

You can design a poster.

You can put Mahmoud’s images and posters in public places.

You write letters, fax or petition to ask for Mahmoud’s immediate release.

You can demand local, national or international football or sport bodies to boycott Israeli sports as long as Israel oppresses the Palestinians and especially prevents them from freely practicing sports.

You can organize BDS activities and dedicate them to the cause of Mahmoud Sarsak and all Palestinian Prisoners.

You can talk with your friends and ask them to do something to save Mahmoud’s life.

If enough of us will do just something of all these, we can save Mahmoud’s life. Because Israel has nothing real against him. It can go on with this ruthless violation of Human Rights only as long as the world keeps silent.

Please act now!

June 2, 2012

Reproduced from Free Haifa blog