Estelle activists remain detained
A number of activists on board an advocacy vessel are still under arrest in Israel.
Palestine, Palestine - Gaza, Middle East 22.10.2012

Majority of the activists on board the ship Estelle, which was intercepted by the Israeli military on 20 October, are still detained in Israel.

The previous Saturday, Israel confiscated in international waters the vessel Estelle, which had set out from Sweden on 20 June to break the illegal Israeli naval blockade and take humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, and towed the boat, together with its passengers, to the Ashdod port.

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According to a statement released by the organizers, nine activists, including an Italian, two Spaniards, and five Greeks, were deported after being forced to sign in a document admitting ‘they have entered Israel illegally,’ while the remaining activists are still detained in Israel for refusing to sign such a document, stating they were abducted in international waters.

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Three Israeli citizens on board Estelle, which had European deputies and 30 activists from eight different countries among its passengers, were accused in a trial on Sunday morning of ‘deliberately aiding the enemy,’ ‘inciting sedition,’ and ‘acting against the law’ (by attempting to break the Gaza blockade). The detention period of Israeli citizens Reut Mor, Elik Elhanan and Yonatan Shapira was extended to 48 hours, and they will appear in court once more.

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Dror Feiler, a Ship to Gaza Sweden spokesperson who is Israeli-born but has been living in Sweden for over 40 years and holds Swedish citizenship, was also accused of same offences by Israeli authorities. Ship to Gaza stated it was not clear what the Israeli authorities aimed by directing groundless accusations against Dror Feiler.

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Feiler, who was also among the activists in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla of 2010, left his homeland Israel, where he was born and grew up, because of human rights violations, and settled in Sweden, renouncing Israeli citizenship and becoming a Swedish citizen. Also a musician, Feiler is chairing Sweden-based Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace platform and Europe-based European Jews for a Just Peace organization.

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