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Gaza flotilla activists resist deportation until all are released

ISM London

2 June 2010

4:30pm (GMT), 2 June 2010

At least 37 British citizens currently held by Israel are resisting attempts to deport them until all flotilla prisoners are released at the same time.

Israeli spokespeople have said all foreign activists will be deported by the end of the day.

However four Palestinian citizens of Israel among the activists have been remanded and face criminal charges. Free Gaza Movement activists say they will non-violently resist any attempts to deport them until all prisoners are released together.

Lawyers from Israeli civil rights NGO Adalah said that among the four charged are Ms. Lubna Masarwa of Al Quds University and Sheikh Raed Salah, the Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel (northern branch).

Israeli officials have prevented lawyers from speaking to the prisoners today, and there are fears they will be violently rushed onto planes and out of the country – possibly to Turkey. If they manage to do so, the Palestinian passengers will remain behind in prison.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said in Parliament today that Israel has blocked consular access to some of the British prisoners, with only 28 having been contacted so far

All of the activists were kidnapped in international waters during Israel’s raid on the flotilla of aid vessels from the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish NGO IHH in the early hours of Monday morning.

Israel is still refusing to release the names of the dead people, two days after the massacre. We still do not know the final death toll. Reports have ranged from nine to 19 dead.

It is believed that six were Turkish nationals. The nationalities of the rest are yet unknown.

The bodies of the Turkish dead will be flown home later today.