[QODLink]
Middle East
Palestinian prisoner eases hunger strike
Mahmoud Sarsak, a Palestinian footballer held by Israel, agrees to take milk after fast lasting more than 80 days.
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2012 23:58

A Palestinian official says a prisoner held by Israel has agreed to ease his hunger strike, and his life is no longer in danger.

Qadoura Fares, who heads a prisoners rights group, said Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, a former player with the Palestinian national football team, agreed to take milk on Monday after a more than 80 days of hunger strike.

The Gaza resident has been held without charge since 2009, and has demanded to be released.

Fares said Sarsak agreed to drink milk for the 72 hours it will take for Israel reviews the case.

Israel's prison service said Sarsak was no longer fasting.

Earlier in the day, Sivan Weizman, Israel Prison Services spokeswoman, said "[Mahmoud] Sarsak ended his hunger strike", adding that he had taken the decision to end his fast after consulting his lawyer and the prison administration.

Sarsak began refusing food in late March along with several other prisoners in a protest which in April was joined by more than 1,000 detainees demanding better conditions, including increased access to lawyers and visits from relatives in Gaza.

Administrative detention

Sarsak and others also sought an end to the practice of holding suspects in administrative detention, under which a military court can order an individual held without charge for renewable periods of six months.

Sarsak's family told Al Jazeera that he has lost 30kg since going on hunger strike, stating the claims Israel has made that he is part of the armed group Islamic Jihad are absurd.

Sarsak played football for Palestine's national team while still a teenager. He was arrested three years ago while travelling to the West Bank to play professional football.

The mass hunger strike ended on May 14, with a deal that saw Israel agree to ease prison conditions, but not end administrative detention.

Sarsak continued his hunger strike and his health has been deteriorating, with prison authorities transferring him briefly to a civilian hospital on Sunday night before returning him to the Ramle prison near Tel Aviv.

312

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.