Irish Nobel winner still in Israeli jail


IRISH NOBEL Peace Prize laureate Maireád Maguire was being held incommunicado in an Israeli prison yesterday, deprived since last Tuesday of thyroid and cholesterol medicines and a change of clothing.

She is continuing with a fast begun on Friday in solidarity with the 1.5 million people of Gaza.

Although the order for detaining 14 remaining peace activists expired yesterday, she is among half a dozen who are determined to resist deportation. They argue that passengers and crew on the Free Gaza Movement’s Spirit of Humanitywere taken off the ferry against their will and had not entered Israel illegally. Their lawyer is to lodge an injunction.

Ms Maguire insists on being the “last to leave”, and wants to see two Arab al-Jazeera journalists being freed. Two Palestinian citizens of Israel were released on Thursday, and five Bahrainis on Friday.

Spirit of Humanityfirst mate Derek Graham, a Co Mayo electrician, was informed by the Department of Foreign Affairs that he was being moved to the holding facility at Ben Gurion Airport and flown to Cyprus. He later told his wife Jenny that he was being put on a flight to Dublin on Tuesday. Ms Maguire and Mr Graham are likely to be sent home together.

Nine citizens of the US and UK have, reportedly, been moved to the airport ahead of deportation today. Among this group is former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

The vessel carrying medical supplies, toys, crayons and a symbolic bag of cement set sail from the Cypriot port of Larnaca on Monday, expecting to reach Gaza on Tuesday. Importation into Gaza of cement, glass and iron for reconstruction is banned.