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Most flotilla activists yet to be released

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The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) are actively pursuing the release of several activists currently detained by Israeli authorities, following a third failed attempt at breaking an eight-year siege on the Gaza Strip. The ‘Marianne av Göteborg’, one of four Flotilla vessels attempting to reach the Gazan coast, was intercepted by Israeli naval ships during the early hours of Monday morning. Most of the activists on board remain in Israeli custody.

Although there had been a possibility of an immediate follow up attempt, the coalition ultimately opted against such a move so as to avoid having their remaining ships apprehended.

Two South Africans from the Palestine Solidarity Alliance, Dr. Clint Le Bruyns and Ismail Moola where amongst those who took part in the campaign, the former sailing aboard one of the standby vessels and the latter providing logistical support. The two have since returned to South Africa.

Disheartened and disappointed at Israel’s decision to again block their attempts to deliver much needed aid to Gaza, Moola said focus would now be shifted to ensuring the release of those still being held by Israeli authorities.

“We need to first of all get some clarity in terms of their release, and then we will strategize going forward,” he stated.

Of those aboard the captured vessel, only two have been released. They are Israeli Knesset member, MK Basel Ghattas as well as former Tunisian president, Moncef Marzouki, who has since been deported from Israel. The other activists have been kept in detention since Monday’s incident, with the FFC working with the respective embassies in order to facilitate their release.

“There is some technical issue where Israeli authorities want them to acknowledge that they tried to enter Israel illegally. That is where the whole thing is apparently stuck, because the activists are refusing to sign anything,” he explained, adding that since the incident occurred 100 nautical miles from the Gazan cost, the ship would have still been in international waters.

He was critical that authorities seemed to be applying the law differently amongst each activist, questioning why Marzouki and Ghattas were released almost immediately without interrogation or having to sign any paperwork.

Moola added that despite yet another failed attempt, this would not serve as any form of deterrent, and the FFC would remained committed and steadfast in their goal to break the siege. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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