The International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza expressed its concern for the safety of the international solidarity activists who were on board the Gaza-bound Al-Awda (Return) boat which was boarded by the Israeli navy on Sunday.
Activist on board on the boat were reportedly assaulted by masked Israeli soldiers. They were then detained by the Israeli naval forces and held at Givon prison in Ashdod. Among those assaulted was 69-year-old British activist and orthopaedic consultant Dr. Swee Ang.
New Zealand Unite Union leader Mike Treen was also among those attacked and unlawfully detained by the Israeli military.
Treen was tasered repeatedly and subsequently tightly handcuffed, Unite Union confirmed. He is currently recovering from injuries to his face and head sustained as a result of the violent Israeli takeover of Al-Awda.
The union also confirmed that local civil rights lawyers met with the detained activists a few hours ago. All their belongings, including their passports, have been seized and continue to be withheld by the Israeli authorities, despite promises they would be returned if they co-operate.
“This information exposes the false Israeli claims that the arrest of the activists was peaceful and that they were not harmed,” said Zaher Birawi, chairman of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza and founding member of the Freedom Flotilla.
Birawi held Israel fully responsible for the safety of the peaceful activists, adding that the Israeli authorities must provide them with medical treatment and release them immediately. He also called on Israel to return the equipment and possessions of journalists who were aboard the ship.
Israeli authorities yesterday released two Israeli activists on bail, identified as Yonathan Shapira and Zuhr Chamberlain, while 20 other activists from 15 different countries remain in custody.