Israel released a member of the Palestinian national soccer team on Tuesday after holding him in jail without trial for three years, during which he staged an intermittent four-month hunger strike in protest, Palestinian officials said.
Mahmoud al-Sarsak, 25, alleged by Israel to have been active in the Islamic Jihad militant group, received a hero’s welcome on his return home to Islamist-ruled Gaza.
Soccer legend Eric Cantona and other international figures had signed a letter drawing attention to Sarsak’s plight. Sepp Blatter, president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA, also wrote to the Israeli soccer authorities to seek their help.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning holds the Vince Lombardi trophy (L) as head coach Tom Coughlin looks on after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots in the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game in Indianapolis, Indiana, February 5, 2012. [REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson]
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