Palestinian soccer player ends hunger strike

June 19, 2012 at 2:52 PM
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BETHLEHEM, Israel, June 19 (UPI) -- Palestinian soccer player Mahmoud al-Sarsak agreed to end his 92-day hunger strike in an Israeli prison, securing his release for July 10, lawyers said.

Al-Sarsak signed the agreement Monday, Ma'an News Agency reported. Prison authorities asked him to eat something in order to seal the deal, so he accepted a piece of chocolate from a lawyer.

As part of the deal, al-Sarsak will go into treatment Tuesday, though he will be returned to Ramle prison later in the day. Physicians for Human Rights - Israel has called for al-Sarsak to be transferred to a civilian facility so he can be monitored as he returns to regular meals.

Radio France Internationale reported al-Sarsak was detained three years ago while trying to cross from Gaza into the West Bank to train with his teammates on the Palestinian national soccer team. He is the only person held under Israel's "unlawful combatants law" which allows Palestinians to be detained for indefinite periods without trial.

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