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Family awaits news on al-Sarsak ruling

June 15, 2012 4:54 P.M. (Updated: June 17, 2012 9:04 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Soccer player Mahmoud al-Sarsak entered his 89th day of hunger strike in an Israeli jail on Friday as his father continued to demand the right to visit his son.

Al-Sarsak's brother Emad told Ma'an that Israeli judges were scheduled to meet Thursday to consider whether to grant al-Sarsak's father permission to visit him in jail.

The family does not know the outcome of the review but hopes Israel will issue a decision in the coming days. They have not been able to reach al-Sarsak's lawyer, Emad said. He could not be reached by Ma'an on Friday.

"I want to see my son alive before I die," al-Sarsak's father told Agence-France Presse on Wednesday.

The family has not been allowed to visit al-Sarsak since he was arrested in July 2009.

The prisoner rights group Addameer has unsuccessfully requested permission for its lawyers to visit the hunger striker.

His lawyer Mohammad Jabarein told Ma'an on Tuesday that he was called to visit al-Sarsak urgently on Sunday, when he was briefly hospitalized, because Israeli officials feared he was close to death.

Palestinian Prisoners Society lawyer Jawad Boulos, who has visited al-Sarsak recently, could not be reached by Ma'an.

Al-Sarsak has been detained for nearly three years without charge or trial and is demanding his release.

His mother told the Institute for Middle East Understanding that the family is so worried they cannot sleep.

"Can you imagine when you're told your son is in Ramle prison, ill, he's in hospital and you can't reach him, or visit him, or see him? He's on hunger strike until now because he was wronged.

"His dream was to go and play in Balata sports club and in West Bank sports clubs and to be excellent and become a star. He was the youngest player in the club, yet the best.

"We don't sleep at night because we're thinking. We say we'll hear bad news, or we'll hear good news. We are watching TV all day long, waiting all day long."

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