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Free Gaza Movement’s two Palestinian ’48 organisers now released from Israeli prison and detention

2 July 2009

For Immediate Release:

Lubna Masarwa and Huwaida Arraf, both organisers of the Free Gaza Movement, have now been released from Ashdod Detention Facility, where military authorities had held them from 9.00 p.m. on 30th June until 1.00 p.m. on 1st July, 2009, having arrested and detained them while in Gazan territorial waters (approx. 20 nautical miles from Gaza Port) at 3.00 p.m. on 30th June.

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mairead Maguire have given telephone interviews from their prison cells, where they await deportation. To arrange such interviews, contact Free Gaza Movement (either Greta Berlin or Caoimhe Butterly, at +357 99 081 767), who will also supply current news or information as to the whereabouts of those Free Gaza 21 who are awaiting deportation, or the current status of legal negotiations as to those deportations.

Free Gaza Movement will continue its activities to break the siege on Gaza, to highlight the plight of Gazans under total Israeli siege and occupation, and to remind the world of the imprisonment of 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails or detention centres, under administrative detention, most of them without trial.

Israel states that it denied entry to the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY and 21 Free Gaza human rights defenders because Gaza is a closed military area and “a blockaded area”. The Israeli Navy threatened to fire at the boat and on several occasions during the voyage from Cyprus attempted to stop the boat (at 3.00 a.m. and at 11.00 am on 30th June), when they surrounded it with up to eight naval gunboats.

Nevertheless, both Ms. Masarwa and Ms. Arraf have been released without charge or court appearance. At 2.30 a.m. on 1st July, Ms. Masarwa was investigated by the General State Security (GSS) – the Shabbak, but not by the police or military.