Activists face “harassment, humiliating body searches, being shackled”

The ‘Freedom waves to Gaza’ flotilla activists imprisoned in Givon prison in Israel are still being held, six days after they were illegally kidnapped by Israeli commandos in international waters.

For previous articles from socialistworld.net on the ongoing illegal kidnapping and detention of the flotilla activists click here

The following press release was issued by the ‘Irish ship to Gaza’ this morning

“The seven Irish human rights activists due home in Ireland this afternoon at 2:25 pm were at the last minute prevented from boarding their flight out of Ben Gurion airport by Israeli armed guards. They had been taken last night to a holding cell and were ready to board their 7:40 am flight to London this morning when at the last minute they were prevented from doing so by Israeli security forces and returned to Givon prison. All seven are now being detained indefinitely, with no further news available from Israeli authorities or the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs about when they will be released.

An Irish Ship to Gaza shore team coordinator spoke briefly on the phone with Fintan Lane before communication was abruptly cut off. Lane said: “This is a deliberate and calculated attempt by the Israelis to break our spirit. It won’t succeed.”

Lane also reported that the seven had been subject to “continuous harassment and repeated, humiliating body searches” and were shackled and “denied sleep”.

Gay Lawlor, Zoe Lawlor’s brother, spoke briefly with Zoe, who described what was happening as “sheer malice” on the part of the Israelis.

The families of the detainees are phoning member of the Irish Ship to Gaza shore team this morning in great distress.

Laurence Davis, Irish Ship to Gaza spokesperson, commented: “We are outraged by this latest attempt by the Israeli authorities to break the morale of the human rights activists, their families and their supporters, all of whom had been looking forward to the homecoming this afternoon in Dublin. This is yet another example of the cruelty and arrogance that the Palestinians face every day.”

Irish Ship to Gaza spokesperson Claudia Saba added: “It is particularly distressing for the families to learn that their loved ones won’t be coming home as they had expected, and distressing that they have no update as to what exactly is happening or when they will be finally freed.”

Several protests demanding the release of the activists have taken place internationally in the last day.

Members of Socialist Struggle Movement (Tnua’t Maavak Sozialisti / Harakat Nidal Eshtaraki, CWI Israel/Palestine) demonstrated outside the Israeli security ministry in Tel Aviv.

Outside the Security Ministry in Tel Aviv

Members of Socialist Alternative (Sozialistische Alternative, CWI in Germany) protested outside the Israeli embassy in Berlin.

Johannes von Simons, a Socialist Alternative member, reported “We wanted to hand over a protest letter from Socialist Alternative, against the abuse of human rights … of the participants of the Gaza solidarity and aid flotilla. It is clear that our protest did not go unnoticed!”

After repeated demands were made to hand in the protest letter, the massive security presence of Israeli agents and German police relented and allowed it.

SAV Activists protesting in Berlin

In Brussels another demonstration took place outside the Israeli embassy in Belgium. It was a joint demonstration by members of Parti Socialiste de Lutte/Linkse Socialistiche Partij (CWI in Belgium) and a delegation of the GUE/NGL group of MEP’s of which Paul Murphy is a member.

Here we post a video from the demonstrations featuring interviews in English, Italian and French

To see more photos of the protest in Belgium see this flickr photo set

Urgent protests demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all of the activists should be made to:

Attorney General at the Ministry of Justice

Telephone +97226466521/2

Fax +97226467001

Ministry of Defence Public Relations Department

Phone +97236975540 or +97236975423

Email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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