Mike Treen imprisoned in Israel after violent attack
Mike Treen imprisoned in Israel after violent attack on Al Awda in International waters
Eyewitnesses report that Unite Union leader Mike Treen’s boat was hijacked in a violent raid and that he and the rest of the crew are being held in Givon prison, 100 km north of Tel Aviv.
Two Israeli citizens who were on board have been charged and released on bail and, contrary to the Israeli military’s claim that the raid on the Al Awda was “without exceptional incident”, Zohar Chamberlain Regev, the boat leader, reports that at the time of boarding: “People on board were tasered and hit by masked IOF soldiers. We did not get our passports or belongings before we got off the boat. Do not believe reports of peaceful interception.”
Mr Regev also reports seeing blood on the deck of the Al Awda as the last participants were being dragged off the ship, which is very alarming given the extreme violence shown by Israel to past flotillas. We are awaiting information about Mike’s condition, charges he may face and what the Israeli’s intend to do with the remaining 20 flotilla participants they have imprisoned.
The international Freedom Flotilla have engaged local lawyers who are trying to gain access to them.
The local Freedom Flotilla organiser, Roger Fowler QSM, has written to Gad Popper, the New Zealand Honorary Consul in Tel Aviv requesting assistance, particularly information about Mike’s situation and condition including his health, any medical treatment he may need, any charges he may be facing, and if he has been allowed to legal assistance (see below).
Unite National Secretary Gerard hehir is calling on the Acting Prime Minister to condemn the Israeli actions in the strongest way:
“This was a violent military attack on a civilian vessel and a violation of international law. Forcibly taking Mike Treen from international waters to a country which is not their destination is an act of kidnapping, which is also unlawful under the international Convention of the Law of Sea.”
“it is interesting that the two Israeli citizens released on bail have been charged with trying to enter Gaza. Not only does Israel not want the world to see what it is doing to the people of Gaza, but it makes it illegal for its own citizens to go there and see for themselves. So much for freedom and democracy in Israel”.