“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” (Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub, June 2012). It took three months of hunger strike and the near death of a Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Sarsak, for the Israeli authorities to agree to a release deal in July 2012. This is a sportsman whom Israel held for three years without charge or trial under the 'Unlawful Combatants Law', which is itself illegal under international law. Olympic squad goalkeeper Omar Abu Rois and Ramallah player Mohammed Nimr are also being held by Israel without charge. We maintain that a state which holds sportsmen as political prisoners is unfit to host an international sporting event. We, therefore, call on UEFA to withdraw the honour of hosting the 2013 European Under-21 championship from Israel.
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