Paul Murphy MEP speaks about conditions in Israeli prison

Published Categorized as Uncategorized
Press Statement: Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party / United Left
Alliance) 12 November 2011

Paul Murphy MEP speaks out at end of seven days detention in Israel:

·        Lie after lie told by Israeli regime
·        Length and conditions of detention clearly an attempt to
intimidate activists – will not be successful
·        Thanks to activists internationally for solidarity protests

“It is great to be finally home after a week of detention in Israeli
prisons. From the moment that our boat was violently boarded and
nearly sunk by Israeli forces, we were told lie after lie by the
Israeli regime. A representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
came onto our boat after we were kidnapped in international waters and
brought to the Israeli port of Ashdod against our will. She promised
that our return home would be expedited, that we would be given phone
calls that evening and that we would not be strip searched – all lies.

“Within prison, the conditions we faced were very poor. There was a
deliberate attempt to keep the truth about the assault on our flotilla
from emerging by keeping us isolated with only one three minute phone
call to our family in the course of 7 days detention, which was
monitored and explicitly told that it could not be political.  All of
our cameras, laptops and mobile phones were stolen from us by the
Israeli military and have still not been returned.

“The worst of the conditions in the prison – conscious sleep
deprivation, being locked up 21 hours a day, no access to reading or
writing material, and prisoners being forced to stand to attention up
to five times a night – were improved through a combination of our
protest action inside the prison, protests action outside, in Ireland
and internationally, including outside Givon prison itself, and the
work of the Irish embassy in Israel. Through those actions, we won
political prisoner status, including the right to free association and
the right to have access to reading material.

“Of course, the conditions we faced gave a glimpse of the conditions
faced by many Palestinians, in particular those imprisoned in the open
air prison camp of Gaza by the Israeli regime. We were fortunate to
have running water at all times, unlike 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza.
The fact that the Israeli army felt the need to violently attack the
boats of peaceful activists trying to break the siege of Gaza and then
hold us in detention for a week underlines the criminal nature of
their blockade. It is clear that the length of the detention and the
conditions on the final evening in particular, where we were held in
what could only be described as a hell-hole, were actions designed to
forcibly dissuade activists from repeating the attempt to break the
blockade. Once again, the Israeli regime has miscalculated –their
treatment of us will bolster our commitment in fighting for an end to
the oppression of the Palestinian people.

“I want to thank everybody in Ireland and internationally for
campaigning for our release. Since my release, seeing the videos and
pictures of protests around the world, and reading the many messages
of support and protest, has brought home the real meaning of and
importance of solidarity. It underlines for me the importance of
solidarity around the world with the Palestinian people, in assisting
in the struggle to end the siege of Gaza and the occupation.?

ENDS

Paul is available for interview, comment or to write an article on his
experience.

Contact:

David Murphy: 085 8221795
Paul Murphy: 086 1688050 (should have replacement phone by lunchtime today)