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Israel commences deportation of 'Freedom' activists

Aug. 6, 2018 3:51 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 11, 2018 11:02 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza announced that the Israeli authorities began to deport international activists who were aboard the "Freedom" ship that was intercepted and seized by Israel on Saturday.

Head of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, Zaher Birawi, said in a statement that "the lawyers of the Freedom Flotilla and the consuls of the activists' embassies, met with the detained activists at the Ashdod detention center."

Birawi said that most of the solidarity activists refused voluntarily deportation and signing papers from the Israeli authorities, which state a pledge that the activists must never attempt entering Gaza again.

Birawi pointed out that the activists refusal to sign will force the Israeli authorities to present them before an Israeli court to expose the unjust practices of Israeli naval forces.

"Freedom" was one of the Freedom Flotilla ships with 12 solidarity activists aboard in an attempt to break the nearly 12-year Israeli siege on Gaza.

Most of the activists on the ship were from Sweden, while two were British journalists who work for London's "Press TV."

The ship was intercepted and seized by Israeli naval forces on Saturday while in international waters. The members of the ship were immediately detained by Israeli naval forces and the ship was then redirected to the southern Israeli seaport of Ashdod.

Last week, following two days of inhumane detention, Israel began deporting the international solidarity activists, who were aboard the "Al Awda" ship of the Freedom Flotilla; the ship was attacked by Israeli naval forces as it was approaching the shores of the besieged Gaza Strip and was also redirected to the Ashdod seaport.

One of the members of the previously attacked ship, Divina Levrini, conducted an interview with Ma'an on Saturday, discussing the violent attack made by the Israeli naval forces towards the ship and its members. In the interview, Levrini said that activists were brutally beaten, tasered and tortured in various ways while at the Israeli Givon prison.
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