Released: Mr Hargreaves was arrested by Israeli soldiers after attempting to visit the West Bank
A Western Isles pensioner, arrested by Israeli soldiers after attempting to visit the West Bank, has been released.
Ian Stewart-Hargreaves, from Carloway on the Isle of Lewis, was one of four members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign held at Tel Aviv.
They claim to have been “roughly” handcuffed and shackled while making their way into Bethlehem.
Mr Hargreaves who has a heart condition, was freed on Monday afternoon.
Around 700 people from around the world had intended to visit Bethlehem on the invitation of families there. Israeli authorities said that a total of 69 people were arrested at the Tel Aviv airport.
“There are 58 remaining (in Israeli custody),” immigration service spokeswoman Sabine Hadad said on Monday, adding they would be flown out as soon as there was space available on departing aircraft.
Those still in custody were part of the “Welcome to Palestine” campaign in which up to 800 people from Europe and the United States planned to fly to Israel and head to the West Bank to visit Palestinian families.
Israeli authorities mobilised diplomatic and security forces to try to head off the incoming activists. Of those who managed to arrive, 120 were denied entry to Israel and taken into custody, although a handful were later admitted after signing pledges not to take part in public disorder.
The release of Mr Hargreaves was notified to STV News from his friends based in the Western Isles who said they were “relieved”.
UK consular staff have also told organisers of the Welcome to Palestine initiative that Israeli authorities intended to deport the oldest member of the group, 83 year-old John Lynes, and 64 year-old university lecturer, Mick Napier this evening.
They are set to be flown to London Luton at 6.20pm UK time, and should arrive at 11.55 tonight. Consular staff said that Israeli authorities would be trying to deport the remaining detainees as and when space became available on flights.
Before leaving for Bethlehem, Lynes, a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, told friends, “I know I may suffer imprisonment, and am ready to accept the consequences of my decisions in the hope that children in the Middle East may be enabled to grow up in greater safety.”
Speaking by phone while waiting for their flight to leave Tel Aviv tonight, Mr Napier, chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said, “Some of the men and women being detained started a hunger strike this morning because 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.
“But we are all in high spirits. Israel’s hysterical response to this peaceful initiative has highlighted the harsh siege of the Occupied West Bank which Israel enforces and many governments wilfully ignore, even to the extent of abandoning their own citizens to Israeli lawlessness.”
Originally posted here:
Western Isles man among Scots released from detention in Israel