A protest was held today outside Ramle prison where Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak, on his 82nd day of hunger strike, remains imprisoned without charge. Activists from Haifa and Jaffa were joined by students from the We Are All Hana Shalabi campaign in Scotland as they demanded Sarsak’s immediate release from jail and freedom for all Palestinian prisoners held in the occupation jails. Around 50 protestor gathered outside the prison with pictures of Sarsak, chanting for his release.
Sarsak, a member of the Palestinian national soccer team, was arrested in July 2009 and has since been branded an ‘illegal combatant’ by Israel’s military judicial system and imprisoned without charge or trial. He has experienced extreme weight loss, frequently loses consciousness, suffers memory lapses and is at risk of life-threatening pulse disruptions. Sarsak is at immediate risk of death according to a doctor from Physicians for Human Rights who was able to visit him in prison. Akram Al-Rekhawi, a diabetic prisoner demanding proper medical care is also in a critical condition after being on hunger strike for 60 days.
Nearly 2,000 Palestinian prisoners called off their mass hunger strike on the 15th of May after Israel conceded to some of their demand after protests escalated around Palestine. However, Israel has since reneged on some of the terms of the deal.
Sarsak and Al-Rekhawi’s heroic struggle for dignity has been largely ignored by the international community as Israel continues to act with impunity and violate the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.
Over 20 students activists from Scottish Universities are currently in Palestine, learning about the situation on the ground, meeting with Palestinian activists and taking part in demonstrations.