Secure release of footballer Mahmoud Sarsak held by UEFA member Israel
  • Petitioned UEFA President Michel Platini

This petition was delivered to:

UEFA President Michel Platini

Secure release of footballer Mahmoud Sarsak held by UEFA member Israel

    1. Red Card Israeli Racism
    2. Petition by

      Red Card Israeli Racism

      London, United Kingdom

Israel is to host the U.E.F.A. Under 21s competition in 2013. Yet, Israeli jails house around 4,000 Palestinian political prisoners, more than 300 of them "administrative detainees" held without charge or trial. One of these is a footballer from Gaza, Mahmoud Sarsak, aged 25. He has been imprisoned for nearly three years. No charge, no trial. In desperation, he has been on hunger strike for more than 80 days and is now close to death. He, and all victims of abuse by the Israeli state, need our support.

Éric Cantona is amongst a list of signatories calling on UEFA to take urgent and official action. Please add your name.

Also sign and share with francophones this petition to Michel Platini in French:

For more background, see 'Palestinian sports community appeal to UEFA – Red Card Israeli Apartheid' 

Recent signatures


    1. Lawyer: Al-Sarsak ends hunger strike in release deal

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Mahmoud al-Sarsak, on hunger strike in an Israeli jail for 92 days, agreed to start eating on Monday in a deal that will see him released on July 10, his lawyer said.

      Mohammad Jaberein said al-Sarsak signed the agreement during his visit to the prisoner on Monday. Israeli prison authorities asked al-Sarsak to eat something in their presence to ratify the deal, after which he took a piece of chocolate from the lawyer, Jaberein said.

      An Israeli prisons spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

      Under the deal al-Sarsak will visit a civilian hospital for treatment on Tuesday, but the same day will return to Ramle prison clinic until his release on July 10, the lawyer added.

      Physicians for Human Rights - Israel say the clinic is not equipped to treat long-term hunger strikers or manage the health risks when they return to eating, and has called for transfer of hunger strikers to civilian facilities.

    2. Lawyer to Ma'an News: No deal to free al-Sarsak

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- No deal has been reached to free Mahmoud al-Sarsak, who entered his 92nd day of hunger strike Monday, his lawyer said.

      Mohammad Jaberein, who visited al-Sarsak in Ramle prison clinic on Sunday [17 June], told Ma'an that negotiations for a deal were ongoing.

      Al-Sarsak is demanding his release after spending nearly three years in jail without charge or trial.

      An Israeli district court on Thursday rejected an appeal to hospitalize al-Sarsak and to allow his family to visit, said Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, the group that submitted the appeal.

      A representative for PHRI told Ma'an the judge had accepted a brief medical report submitted by the Israeli Prison Service which did not address concerns raised by independent doctors.

      On June 6, PHRI sent an independent doctor to visit al-Sarsak after petitioning an Israeli court for access. It was al-Sarsak's only visit by an independent doctor throughout his 3-month strike.

    3. Unconfirmed reports: Sarsak to be released July 10, subject to conditions

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Gaza , June 17 (QNA) – An agreement to release Palestinian hunger strike prisoner Mahmoud al-Sarsak was near completion, Mohgat Al Quds, an institute concerned with the rights of Palestinian prisoners, said Sunday.
      The institute said today that the former Palestinian football player had suspended his hunger strike after Israeli prison officials promised he will be released on July 10.
      Sarsek’s family confirmed that there was a meeting currently taking place between Israeli prison officials and representatives of the Palestinian prisoner. They did not reveal however if a deal to release al-Sarsak on July 10 had any truth to it.

    4. Reached 2,500 signatures
    5. Mr Imad Sarsak: Israeli judicial committee today to decide Mahmoud's fate

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      'The State of Palestine 194' FB group reports that on Saturday 16 June a delegation contacted Mr. Imad Al Sarsak, Mahmoud’s brother and asked him several questions about Mahmoud’s situation.

      *Mr. Imad had the following to add before the conversation was done:
      Today, Sunday 17th of July, there will be a meeting for an Israeli Judical committee in order to discuss Mahmoud’s case and we expect they will decide to release Mahmoud and set a specific date for his release.
      “Mr. Imad Al Sarsak and his entire family are grateful and thankful for every person who believes in Mahmoud and his case and acting by all means possible in solidarity and to get more support for the case, and greetings to you from the heart of Palestine and hopefully we will celebrate with all of you his release soon Inchalla”

    6. Support from CEO of Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      As the founding member of FIFPro and Executive member of the Board, we fully support FIFPro’s call for the release from prison of Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak.


      Gordon Taylor

    7. PFA letter to Michel Platini re. Israel's hosting of 2013 UEFA championship

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Follow link below for full text of letter. Excerpt:

      'So we are deeply concerned about the sitation of our footballers. Sarsak, as you can see, is not the only player who is suffering from the illegal transgressions of the Israeli occupation. For athletes in Palestine there is no real freedom of movement and the risks of being detained or even killed are always looming before their eyes.

      What is happening in reality is the Israeli government continuation of a direct violation of FIFA regulations and the International Olympic charter.

      As well we ask Your Excellency to not give Israel the honour to host the next UEFA Under-21 Championship 2013. And also to ensure the commitment of Israeli government to FIFA regulations and international Olympic charter which relates to the Palestinian players and athletes.

      I avail myself of the opportunity to renew to you the assurance of my highest consideration.

      – General Jibril Rajoub President, Palestine Football Association'

    8. Outcome of Thursday's judicial review still not clear

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      His case was to be reviewed by an Israeli court on Thursday, but the outcome of the judicial review was not immediately clear. Israeli authorities made no announcements and calls to al-Sarsak's lawyer went unanswered all day. The prisoners rights group Addameer said it did not know of any developments.

    9. Reached 2,000 signatures
    10. European footballers demand freedom of Sarsak 'in name of justice & HRs'

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Nicolas Anelka, footballeur
      Jordan Ayew, footballeur
      André Ayew, footballeur
      Demba Ba, footballeur
      Abdoulaye Balde, footballeur
      Jonathan Bru, footballeur
      Gailord Bwasi, footballeur
      Diomansy Camara, footballeur
      Pascal Chimbonda, footballeur
      Philippe Christianval, footballeur
      Omar Daf, footballeur
      Issiar Dia, footballeur
      Abou Diaby, footballeur
      Alou Diarra, footballeur
      Soulaymane Diawara, footballeur
      Mike Digbeu, basketteur
      Pape Diop, footballeur
      Ladji Doucouré, athlète
      Rod Fanni, footballeur
      Doudou Jacques Faty, footballeur
      Ricardo Faty, footballeur
      Chris Gadi, footballeur
      Rémi Gomis, footballeur
      Charles Kabore, footballeur
      Frédéric Kanouté, footballeur
      Jo Le Guen, navigateur
      Steve Mandanda, footballeur
      Stéphane Mbia, footballeur
      Mamadou Niang, footballeur
      Nicolas Nkoulou, footballeur
      Fabrice Numéric, footballeur
      Billel Omrani, footballeur
      Momo Sissoko, footballeur
      Moussa Sow, footballeur
      Ibrahim Tall, footballeur
      Djimi Traore, footballeur

    11. Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author Alice Walker joins signatories to letter

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      In March 2009, Alice Walker traveled to the besieged Gaza strip with a group of 60 other female activists from the anti-war group Code Pink, following Israel's war on Gaza, December 2008-January 2009. She has commented, ‘I grew up in the South under segregation, under the state terrorism of apartheid. When I was in the West Bank and Gaza recently, it was like stepping back into that.’

    12. Court rejected today PHR appeals demanding Sarsak transfer 2 civic hospital

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is reporting that today the Israeli court rejected their appeals demanding the immediate transfer to civic hospitals of Mahmoud Sarsak, as well as Akram Rikhawi who is on day 64 of his hunger strike

    13. Bishop Desmond Tutu & Tariq Ramadan add names to letter to Michel Platini!

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Please tweet these updates using hashtags #MahmoudSarsak and #Sarsak and linking to the petition

    14. Rajoub asks UEFA to remove Israel as 2013 Under-21 championship host nation

      Red Card Israeli Racism
      Petition Organizer

      Palestine football leaders want UEFA to remove Israel as the 2013 European Under-21 Championship host nation for jailing Palestine national team players without trial. Palestine federation president Jibril Rajoub wrote to UEFA President Michel Platini to say that Israel's government is in ''direct violation of FIFA regulations.'' Rajoub asks Platini ''to not give Israel the honor to host the next UEFA Under-21 Championship.''

      Israel is set to stage the eight-nation tournament across four venues from June 5 to 18 next year.

      Rajoub says Israel has jailed Palestine player Mahmoud Sarsak for three years as an ''illegal combatant.'' Sarsak began a hunger strike three months ago.

      Rajoub's letter said two other players are also being held without trial.

      FIFA President Sepp Blatter is asking Israeli football leaders for ''urgent'' help.

    15. Reached 1,500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

      • over 2 years ago

      I have been an active supporter for the freedom for Palestine for a number of years. I also support and campaign for a lasting and just peace between Palestine and Israel. Only when Israel begins to conform to international law, the views of the United Nations and starts to treat Palistinians with respect and as human beings, only then can this peace process serioously begin.

      • over 2 years ago

      No detention without trial must be a basic human right in any true democracy. Israel must adhere to this high standard or else betray its own democratic credentials.

    • Maggie Fry CHARLESTON WV, WV
      • over 2 years ago

      The detention of Mahmoud al Sarsak is an act of pivotal hostility by the nation of Israel. It is intended to crush the hearts of Palestinian children, to provoke terror in the hearts of Palestinian mothers and to provoke rage in the hearts fo Palestianian fathers. Mahmoud al Sarsak must be released, that Israel will host the U.E.F.A. whilst detaining a dying Palestinian footballer is full of such hypocrisy that it brings shame on the entire U.E.F.A. Please, release Mahmoud al Sarsak, so doing will go along way in establishing peace in the region.

    • Markus Mattsson HELSINKI, FINLAND
      • over 2 years ago

      Imprisonment without a trial is cruel and inhuman; a subtle form of torture. Israel should release Mahmoud Sarsak immediately and without conditions.

    • Caroline Bailey LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 2 years ago

      Administrative detention as practised by the Israeli authorities on Palestinians (no charge, no trial) is inconsistent with any form of justice. I have experienced life in the Occupied Territories and it is deeply shocking. That Israel should receive international support for hosting the UEFA Under 21s with Sarsak near death as protest against his illegal detention is a disgrace.


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