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Locke to welcome deported peace activist home

20 June 2008

Locke to welcome deported peace activist home today

Green Party MP Keith Locke criticises Israel for deporting New Zealand peace activist Harmeet Sooden.

Mr Locke will be at Auckland airport to greet Mr Sooden, who is reported to be arriving back in New Zealand at 2.15pm today.

"New Zealand should protest this high-handed action against a dedicated peace activist," Mr Locke, the Green Party's Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, says.

"It should also look into accusations that Mr Sooden was assaulted while in Israeli custody.

"It is absurd that Israel is portraying Mr Sooden as a threat to the security of the state of Israel.

"The International Solidarity Movement - for which he was going to volunteer - is an entirely non-violent group which monitors human rights in the Palestinian territories.

"If it has nothing to hide, Israel should welcome the presence of these international volunteers. Surely, they would serve to lower the political temperature and moderate any potential conflict between occupation forces and the Palestinians.

"Their work is particularly useful now, when there are hopes for a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza."


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