Deported Israel campaigners return to the UK

Two British campaigners have arrived back in the UK after they were detained in Israel while trying to visit the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

Mick Napier, 64, chairman of The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and retired university lecturer John Lynes, 83, flew back into Luton Airport early this morning after being deported by officials.

They were amongst 13 British people, including four Scots, who were detained by soldiers at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport on Friday before being put in prison.

University lecturer Mr Napier said that all members of his group began a hunger strike after information on charges against them was not provided and they were denied a phone call.

The 11 other group members remain in Israel and are refusing to eat, but some are expected to return to the UK later today.

"Israel has cross another red line," said Mr Napier, whose campaign group was planning to join 700 people from around the world invited to visit Bethlehem by families there.

"We were chained, handcuffed and detained for no apparent reason - we had committed no crimes - no UK or Israeli law was breached.

"We were denied any information about any charges against us and were also denied a telephone call over the entire period we were in prison.

"It was a situation of lawlessness."

Mr Napier said around 124 people taking part on the planned visit were held by Israeli officials. His group were amongst around 50 taken to Ramle Prison where they were placed on a wing for illegal immigrants.

"Despite repeated efforts we were unable to find out what we were supposed to be guilty of - it was a ridiculous situation," added Mr Napier.

The other Scots detained were Frank Thomas, 66, a retired statistician from Edinburgh; Ian Stewart-Hargreaves, who lives on the Isle of Lewis; and Joy Cherkaoui, a community worker from Dumfries and Galloway.

The English group members were Mr Lynes; Audrey Gray, 77, a retired nurse from West Chiltington; Val Kitchen, 68, from Tonbridge; Anne Gray, 66, a retired academic from London; and Les Levidow, 61, an Open University research fellow who works in Milton Keynes.

There were also four Welsh passengers: Pippa Bartolotti, 57, deputy leader of the Wales Green Party; Dee Murphy, 56, from Swansea, founder member of Swansea Palestine Community Link; Joyce Giblin and Fiona Williams.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a number of British nationals were detained at the airport in Tel Aviv on Friday.

"All the British nationals currently detained pending deportation have been visited by consular staff from the embassy in Tel Aviv and we have been in contact with families in the UK.

"We understand they will be deported in the next few days."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss