Affidavit No. 7557/2012

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Khaldiyya Ahmad ‘Ataya Sarsak, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 956600514, born in 1948, a housewife, and a resident of al-Shaboura refugee camp, Rafah governorate, would like to declare the following:

My son is Mahmoud Kamel Muhammad Sarsak, (25 years old). He is a football player in the Palestinian national football team. His love for football started when he was a child. When he was eight years of age, he joined the football team of the Rafah Sports Clubs. He then joined the Palestinian National Football Team when he was 15 years old. He represented Palestine in the Palestine national football team and Rafah Sports Club in several Arab and foreign countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Norway.

In early 2009, my son received an invitation from the Palestine Football Federation and Balata Youth Club in the West Bank to play in the Club football team. Based on the invitation, the Palestine Football Federation and Ministry of Civil Affairs in Ramallah coordinated with the Israeli side to allow my son to leave the Gaza Strip for the West Bank, through Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing. On 22 July 2009, my son Mahmoud went to Erez Crossing in order to travel to the West Bank after he had obtained prior approval from the Israeli occupying authority. When he reached Erez Crossing, Israeli soldiers arrested him. We were informed of his detention through a telephone call from the Israeli Intelligence agency. We addressed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as well as several human rights organisations in the Gaza Strip, including the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and the al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights. The latter retained Advocate Muhammad Jabarin to follow up on my son’s case. Advocate Jabarin told us that my son had been detained in Ashkelon Detention and Interrogation Centre for thirty days, during which he was subjected to intensive interrogation about his affiliation with the Islamic Jihad Movement. However, my son did not confess to the charges.

According to the lawyer, the Israeli Intelligence agency issued on 3 August 2009 an order of administrative detention (arrest without charge or trial) under the Israeli Illegal Combatant Law. Then, my son was relocated to the Ketziot (Negev) Detention Centre where he served his sentence. His administrative detention was renewed on several occasions. In the meantime, my son was not brought to any court and the duration of his detention was not determined. Since he was arrested, the Israeli occupying forces have not allowed us to visit or contact him by telephone. We often tried to send him books and clothes through the ICRC, but the Israeli forces refused to deliver them.

On 19 March 2012, media outlets reported that my son Mahmoud declared himself to be on a hunger strike. Advocate Muhammad Jabarin confirmed to us that my son declared himself to be on a hunger strike in protest against continued detention without charge or trial. My son demanded that he be released immediately. According to the lawyer, the Israeli Prisons Authority relocated Mahmoud on 8 April 2012 from the Negev Detention Centre to solitary confinement in Bir al-Sabe’ Prison. On 16 April 2012, he was transported to al-Ramla Prison clinic after his health had deteriorated. In the meantime, my son was still on hunger strike. On 31 May 2012, the Addameer lawyer visited my son. Advocate Jabarin, who was in touch with the Addameer lawyer, told us that my son was still on hunger strike and that his health was deteriorating further. He also said that Mahmoud suffered from daily fainting spells, severe weakness in the heart muscle, intestinal problems, blood disorders, and deteriorating vision and hearing. He also lost 30 kilograms. His weight fell from 70 to 40 kilograms. Mahmoud rejected a verbal offer from the Israeli Prisons Authority to release him. He wanted a written document on his release from the Prisons Authority. My son is still on his open-ended hunger strike. Since he declared hunger strike, I have been worried for his life. We have submitted many appeals to media outlets as well as to the ICRC and all international human rights organisations. I still appeal to all competent bodies to intervene immediately and place pressure on the Israeli occupying authority to release my son and save his life.


This is my declaration, which I hereby sign, 7 June 2012 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit No. 7557/2012
  • Field researcher: Tariq Zaqout
  • Affidavit Date: 7 June 2012
  • Name: Khaldiyya Ahmad ‘Ataya Sarsak