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Israel detains activists
From: Agence France-Presse
December 26, 2005
THREE foreign peace activists have been in Israeli police detention for five days after refusing to return home at the request of the authorities upon arrival, their lawyer said.
Israeli authorities refused entry to the Australian, Italian and South African when they flew into Ben Gurion airport to attend a peace conference in the West Bank town of Bethlehem next Tuesday.
The three peace activists refused to fly out, instead lodging an appeal with a district court in Tel Aviv, hence they were detained.
`Police wanted to force the South African, Michael Horsell, to fly back without waiting for a court order,` said lawyer Gaby Lasky.
`As he was peacefully opposing his deportation, Italian pacifist Vittorio Arrigoni was with him and was lightly injured by shards of glass during a confrontation with police,` the lawyer added.
Mr Horsell, Mr Arrigoni and Australian Shiri Lock are waiting for a decision from a Tel Aviv court, although it is not clear when the ruling will be given.
Israel regularly forces peace activists from pro-Palestinian groups to turn back upon arrival out of fear they will demonstrate against its controversial separation barrier being built across the West Bank.
In July 2004, the UN International Court of Justice issued a non-binding ruling that parts of the barrier were illegal and should be torn down.
Although Israel has since modified the route along some stretches, its government has vowed to complete the project.
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