Monday, July 06, 2009

NI Nobel winner is being deported!

Mairead Maguire at a peace rally in Belfast
Mairead Maguire was detained trying to enter Gaza

Nobel peace prize winner Mairead Maguire is to be deported from Israel, after she was arrested while on board a ship attempting to bring aid to Gaza.

She was detained with 18 other campaigners by Israeli forces who boarded the Spirit of Humanity vessel, run by the Free Gaza Movement.

Spokeswoman Hilary Smith said they were now being held in cells at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.

She expects Mrs Maguire to be on a flight back to Ireland on Monday.

"We have heard that they were held in extremely uncomfortable conditions - very hot, dirty cells - and not given any of their belongings," she said.

"We were very concerned by a report we got on Saturday that Mareaid had been denied access to her medication.

"Now obviously she's going to be able to confirm some of this when we have the opportunity to speak to her."

Among the other campaigners, is former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

The Israeli military said the boat was trying to enter Gaza illegally.

The US-based Free Gaza Movement has breached an Israeli blockade five times since August 2008.

Mairead Corrigan Maguire co-founded Women for Peace, which later became the Community for Peace People, along with fellow Belfast woman Betty Williams.

The two women were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for their efforts in trying to encourage a peaceful resolution to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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