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Sweden activists recount abuse while in Israeli custody

Swedish activists Charlie Andreasson and Divina Levrini, who were detained by the Israeli authorities on Monday while trying to break the blockade on Gaza, returned to their country on Friday.

Dror Feiller, a Swedish-Jewish activist, greeted them both with roses upon their arrival.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Levrini, who was detained after the ship in which she was traveling was intercepted by the Israeli navy, recalled her experiences in Israeli custody.

Noting that they had departed from Norway and Sweden on 15 May in a four-ship flotilla, she said: "While we were in international waters, we were approached several times by Israeli military vessels."

"Even though we repeatedly told them that we were part of an international flotilla, they [Israeli military personnel] still intercepted us and boarded our ship," she recalled.

"They struck my colleague Charlie in the head and back. Another activist's neck was bleeding. They threw some of the passengers from the upper to the lower deck," Levrini said.

After being taken into Israeli custody, she continued, they were then subjected to several days of mistreatment.

"They didn't let us sleep. Every hour, a guard would come and force us to stand up before subjecting us to psychological abuse," she added.

"I wasn't allowed access to medication after having been struck in the head when they seized the ship," she recounted.

Andreasson, for his part, said his personal belongings were stolen by Israeli soldiers who also threatened him with death.

"They took many of our possessions, including our credit cards and phones. When we told our jailers that our things had been stolen, we were put in cells with our hands and legs bound," he said.

Nevertheless, Andreasson says he has no regrets.

"Even though our flotilla failed to reach the Palestinians [in Gaza], we nevertheless made their voices heard," he said.

"We now plan to bring this case to court and maintain our support for the Palestinians once the judicial process has started," he added.

Feiller, for his part, says the activists plan to redouble their efforts to break Israel's illegal blockade on Gaza.

"Gazans have lived in an open-air prison for the last 11 years," he said. "And we will not falter in our efforts to help them."

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