mercredi 9 novembre 2011

Soutenez les détenus des bateaux Tahrir et MV Saoirse

Irish Ship to Gaza
Press release, Tuesday 8 November 2011, 11.45pm


American journalist Jihan Hafiz was on the Canadian boat Tahrir, and was among those detained by Israel despite her press credentials. She reported earlier today about her experience during the Israeli takeover of the Irish and Canadian boats:
“There were three warships [...] four Zodiacs, four water cannon boats, as well as four regular gunboats. All of the commandos on all of these boats were heavily armed. It looked like they were taking on an army of a foreign country.”
She added: “Two water cannons started to pour lots of water into the Irish boat, which flooded it, blew their sockets, and cut off all the electricity. And so, at that point, the Irish delegates I spoke to said they told the Israeli army, ‘We’re taking on water. We’re sinking. We’re going to go down at sea if you continue with the water.’"
Jihan Hafiz goes on to describe the violent takeover during which guns were pointed at the heads of the boats’ passengers, how they were roughed up, mistreated, strip-searched, and filmed naked. She also tells of how the journalists’ equipment was confiscated, in a bid to silence any reporting that might contradict the sanitized Israeli account of what happened during the hijacking of the Tahrir and the MV Saoirse.
Meanwhile, despite Department of Foreign Affairs assurances that the detained Irish activists of the MV Saoirse would likely be released by Tuesday 8 November, there has been no further news of their deportation and return to Ireland. Naturally, the family members of the Irish passengers are extremely anxious about their continued illegal incarceration. They are particularly concerned about reports that the judge dealing with the case of the detainees has threatened to keep them incarcerated for two months.
The lawyer dealing with the case met with Canadian detainees Ehab Lotayef and David Heap on Monday. They informed the lawyer that an Israeli judge threatened to keep all detainees who do not sign deportation papers incarcerated for two months. The Irish activists have refused to sign these papers because they state that the activists came to Israel voluntarily and entered the country illegally. This is not the case, as Israeli naval ships violently seized the Saoirse and Tahrir, and forcibly transported them and all on board to Ashdod.
Furthermore, the lawyer reported that the Irish he spoke with felt isolated and alone due to their lack of contact with the outside world. An Irish consular official reports that he attempted to bring newspapers and phone cards for the prisoners, but these were not allowed in.
Fintan Lane’s father, Jim Lane, said:
“My wife and I are deeply concerned for Fintan’s welfare. We are disappointed by the lack of information we are receiving from the Department of Foreign Affairs. On Monday we were told by the Department representative that Irish consular staff would be meeting all the detained prisoners on that day, but later we were told that they were not given access to the male prisoners. Furthermore, I was made to understand that the 72 hour detention period would be up at 2am on Tuesday morning, and we awaited further information from the Department. However, this afternoon we got a call from the DFA to be told that they had no further news. The family is concerned about the silence that has been brought into the affair. It seems deliberate and we would like information immediately. The few statements we have had have come from Israeli sources, which we find to be suspect based on the account our son was able to communicate in the very brief phone call he was permitted to make.”
“We fully support our son’s participation in the Freedom Waves initiative because the inhumane blockade of Gaza must come to an end,” he added.
Gay Lawlor, Zoe Lawlor's brother, said:

"As a family we are extremely worried about Zoe and the other passengers of the MV Saoirse. Given the passing of the 72 hour detention period and still no confirmation of their release times we think it is shocking that our government, and in particular the Tanaiste, Mr. Eamon Gilmore, are not acting in the best interests of our citizens."

Mark Hogan, Irish rugby star Trevor Hogan's brother, said:
“My brother refused to sign a deportation order, which stated he had entered Israel illegally, since he was effectively kidnapped by the IDF and brought to Israel against his will.”
“A 72 hour period of detention pending deportation elapsed at approximately 3am on Tuesday morning, yet the latest information from an Irish consular official who visited them on Tuesday afternoon is that there is still no confirmation of when they will be deported. So they are, effectively, imprisoned indefinitely.”
“I call on Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore to intervene and secure the immediate release of my brother, Trevor, and all the other Irish citizens of the MV Saoirse.
The family members quoted are available for interview - contact details as follows:

Jim Lane 021 496 2993

Mark Hogan 087 792 7610 or  086 807 0338

Gay Lawlor 083 356 7515

For more information, contact:
Laurence Davis 086 360 5053
Claudia Saba 086 393 8821

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