Israeli authorities began deporting several of the international solidarity activists who were aboard the Al-Awda ship of the Freedom Flotilla, Gaza’s National Committee for Breaking the Siege announced yesterday.
Gaza’s National Committee confirmed that the activists’ deportation comes two days after they were detained following an attack by Israeli naval forces on the ship in international waters.
Zaher Birawi, head of the committee, said in a statement that a number of international activists were deported on Tuesday, including a Malaysian professor, Dr. Mohammed Afandi Salleh, and the rest were to be deported yesterday.
Birawi stressed that many of the activists rejected voluntarily deportation, preferring to delay it for more than 72 hours, the legal deadline for accepting voluntary deportation from the country, in order to appear before an Israeli court to expose the unjust practices of Israeli naval forces who attacked the humanitarian ship in international waters, and to later prosecute Israel for its actions.
The committee quoted the testimonies of some of the activists as being exposed to “beatings and violence” including the ship’s captain, his assistant, and other solidarity activists.
Swedish human rights activist, Divina Levrini, who was among international detainees, said in a statement that she declares a hunger strike, as a form of protest against the treatment she received by Israeli forces and against the harsh conditions she is going through while being detained in the Israeli Givon prison.