Wafa Images
Wafa Images
Wafa Images
  30th September 2014    Time 20:57 Jerusalem Ashrawi: Israel Committed to Theft rather than Peacemaking      Foreign Ministry: Netanyahus Speech is to Justify Settlement, Occupation      Hebron Resident Wounded by Israeli Army Remnant Bomb      Netanyahus Speech at UN Blatant Manipulation of Facts, says Ashrawi      PEX Report: Index Continues Up Trend      Newspaper Review: Israels Campaign against Abbas Focus of Dailies      Erekat: Netanyahu Endorses Extremism by Allowing Settlers to Attack Palestinians      Presidency Condemns Settlers Seizure of Palestinian Buildings in Jerusalem      Weather Forecast: Slight Rise in Temperature       Producer Price Index Down in August 2014, says Statistics Bureau      PEX Report: Index Slightly Up      Israeli Forces Arrest Six Palestinians from West Bank Districts      Newspaper Review: Palestinian Rejection of US Criticism of Abbas UN Speech Focus of Dailies      Israeli Army Demolishes Power Network near Nablus      Israel Partially Demolishes Building near Jerusalem, Provoking Clashes
Youtube
facebook
Twitter
RSS
As Turkish Photographer is Buried, other Journalists aboard Flotilla Speak out

Decrease font sizeIncrease font size   modify font size Print a copy


PARIS, June 9, 2010 (WAFA- Journalists who were aboard the humanitarian flotilla that was intercepted by Israeli naval commandoes on May 31 have been recounting their experiences. Reporters without Borders published in its website.

At the same time, Turkish journalist Cevdet Kililar, who was fatally shot at the start of the assault of the Mavi Marmara, one of vessels in the flotilla, was buried in Istanbul on June 4.

A news photographer who graduated from Marmara Universitys Faculty of Communication, Kililar had worked in the past for such Islamist newspapers as Selam (Salute), Vakit (Time) and Milli Gazete (National Newspaper) and had applied for an official press card while working for Milli Gazete.

For the past year he had worked for the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a Turkish NGO, as press officer and website editor. He was killed by a single shot to the head fired at close range by an Israeli soldier.

The Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS) has protested against Kililars death, which it says should be treated as a murder, and has called for an investigation to establish the exact circumstances in which he was killed.

All the journalists who were detained by the Israeli authorities have now been deported from Israel and many of them have been talking about what they went through.

Mediha Olgun (Turkish woman journalist with the daily Sabah):

I was released 72 hours after the start of the military operation. I was forced to go back into my cabin where they gave me a full search. They cut into the heels of my shoes to see if I had hidden anything there. That is how they found the copies of the photos we had kept. They seized my laptop, my camera and mobile phone. They only thing I was able to hold on to was my passport. They also took our photos.

Ayse Sarioglu (Turkish woman journalist with the daily Taraf):

I was terrified when I saw Kililar on the ground. That is when I cried... They searched absolutely everything. From the boat, they took us to a large shed in the port of Ashdod, where we were interrogated. I was humiliated by a policeman, although there was a woman officer there who was very polite. While interrogating me, he spat on me and called me an idiot. He even pulled my tongue. I could not believe my eyes, it was so inhuman!

They accused us of being within 10 miles of Israeli territory. I replied that we were 70 miles away and in international waters. You knew that Gaza was forbidden. I replied: Yes, but I did not come here because I wanted to. I am a journalist and it is my job. It is of little importance that you are a journalist. You have broken a rule. They asked me to sign a statement but I refused, asking for a translator from the Turkish embassy. Whether you sign or not, you will be deported. We were searched meticulously, between our toes, in our hair, under our gums, under the tongue and so on. They took us to Beer Sheva prison. I was questioned again. They asked me if I was a member of Hamas or Al Qaeda. They also asked me if there were Palestinians in my family.

I was able to call and talk to my family for just one minute and in English. On the afternoon of the next day, I was put in contact with Turkish embassy officials. We spent a second night in a prison cell. The next morning, they woke us at 6 a.m., gave us our passports and took us by bus to Ben Gurion airport.

Erhan Sevenler (Turkish journalist with the semi-official news agency Anatolia-AA):

When we learned of the presence of military boats and a submarine nearby, we began to take measures. All the journalists gathered at the stern of the boat to be able to film what was going to happen. At around 4 a.m., 15 to 20 zodiacs surrounded the ship. Very quickly, a helicopter lowered commandoes to the bridge. As I rushed towards the bridge, people aboard our ship grabbed a soldier. Until that moment, I thought they were firing rubber bullets. That is when I realised they were firing live rounds. The windows of the bridge exploded under the impact of the bullets. The journalists then sought refuge in the office reserved for the press.

Ycel Velioglu (Turkish journalist with the AA news agency):

There were three doors to the journalists office, two of which were locked. The soldiers knew how to enter the office because we had given them a clear explanation. But they deliberately broke down one of the locked doors. We had a cameras round our necks and our press cards in our hands, but the soldiers kept aiming the lasers of their guns at our eyes in order to intimidate us... That lasted about 45 minutes.

Marcello Faraggi, an Italian journalist who heads a media production company in Brussels, was aboard the Eleftheri Mesogeios (Free Mediterranean Sea), one of cargo boats in the Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla, reporting for the TV station Euronews. He described what he experienced to Reporters Without Borders:

When we left Athens, I was on the passenger ship, the Sfendoni. Once we reached Rhodes, I switched to the freighter carrying humanitarian aid, the Eleftheri Mesogeios, which was flying the Greek and Swedish flags. There were 29 of us aboard it, including two other journalists, Mario Damolin, who was working for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Maria Psara, a Greek journalist working for a newspaper that supports the Greek socialist party. There were also some well-known people from Greece and Sweden, including the novelist Henning Mankel.

The Israeli army intervened at 4:30 a.m. on 31 May, when we were still in international waters. Two helicopters dropped smoke bombs. Several zodiac boats without lights began to circulate among the boats in the flotilla. It seemed like something in a movie but it was real. Real as in war. I heard someone shout: They are firing real bullets. Not just smoke bombs! Real bullets! Meanwhile the Marmara just continued on the same course.

At 6:30 a.m., as the sun was rising, an Israeli army boat circled us. Loudspeakers screamed that we should surrender, that we were putting the boats safety in danger. The zodiacs did not stop circling around us. Soldiers climbed on to the cargo. We had gathered in the captains cabin. They asked us to surrender. Most of us complied. Those who refused were hit by the soldiers, targeted by the rifle lasers and handcuffed with plastic straps.

I kept filming all this while. When the soldiers saw me, they grabbed the camera out of my hands, they confiscated it along with the cassettes I had on me. We will give them back to you at the port, they said. I told them I was a journalist and showed my international press card but to no avail. It made no difference. After being briefly interrogated in the captains office, we three journalists joined the other passengers, who were assembled on the deck. The boat set course for Ashdod. But in we took nearly 10 hours to arrive and in the meantime we were all on the deck like animals.

When we arrived at the port of Ashdod at around 3:30 p.m. there were masses of people there. Lots of soldiers filmed us as we got off the boat. We felt like animals in a zoo. When I showed my press card, a cassette was returned to me. We were put in a bus and driven to a space where they were lots of tents. Soldiers asked me to undress. They confiscated other material from me. There were five or six or us who had to undress at the same time. It was humiliating. I refused to submit to a medical inspection. I was then asked to sign a document in English. As an Italian, I asked if I could have an Italian translation. They laughed in my face.

Then they put us in a truck used for transferring prisoners. We waited for more than an hour squeezed against each other inside the truck, under the sun, without air conditioning. Only when night fell did the army transfer us to Beer Sheva, where we were again searched on our arrival. They gave us a few raw vegetables, some water to drink, pieces of soap and shampoo in sachets. We were given no chance to call a lawyer or contact our embassies.

Embassy representative came on Tuesday afternoon. But that was when we were about to be taken before a judge. Everyone was in the same room, a sort of big hanger. It was really noisy! We were transferred to Ben Gurion airport on Wednesday morning. In the bus, a Czech journalist wanted to go to the toilet. A soldier laughed at him. I tried to intervene because I had my international press card on me, but in vain.

On the plane, they made us sign a statement in English recognising that we had entered Israeli territory illegally. Then my passport was returned to me. I saw that some people were given only a photocopy of their passport. Although we had boarded the plane at 1:30 p.m., we did not take off until about midnight. Rumours circulated all this while, including one about an Italian journalist being beaten by soldiers. We were finally flown to Istanbul.

On our arrival at about 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, they told us our bags had arrived. I found that my camera bag was sealed, so I asked airport officials to open it so that they could witness what I found inside. The bag was full of old clothes and rubbish. My camera was not there.

Yesterday, 8 June, I went to the Brussels police to report that I had been the victim of armed robbery. I lost more than 20,000 euros of equipment on this job. I was aboard that boat as a journalist, not an activist. The Israeli soldiers are guilty of an act of piracy.

Today the chief of police called to say that it was wrong on the part of the police officer to have registered my complaint yesterday inasmuch as the Belgian authorities could not do anything. He nonetheless added that, since I had been given a copy of my statement, with a registration number, the police would transfer their report to the prosecutors office for information.

Reporters Without Borders has learned that Surya Fachrizal, an Indonesian journalist working for the magazine Hidayatullah, was shot and wounded in the chest by an Israeli soldier during the storming of the humanitarian flotilla on 31 May. He is currently hospitalised in Jordan.

Latest News
16:09  
30-9-2014
Ashrawi: Israel Committed to Theft rather than Peacemaking
16:07  
30-9-2014
Foreign Ministry: Netanyahus Speech is to Justify Settlement, Occupation
15:38  
30-9-2014
Hebron Resident Wounded by Israeli Army Remnant Bomb
15:13  
30-9-2014
Netanyahus Speech at UN Blatant Manipulation of Facts, says Ashrawi
15:11  
30-9-2014
PEX Report: Index Continues Up Trend
13:41  
30-9-2014
Newspaper Review: Israels Campaign against Abbas Focus of Dailies
13:37  
30-9-2014
Erekat: Netanyahu Endorses Extremism by Allowing Settlers to Attack Palestinians
13:21  
30-9-2014
Presidency Condemns Settlers Seizure of Palestinian Buildings in Jerusalem
10:30  
30-9-2014
Weather Forecast: Slight Rise in Temperature
18:29  
29-9-2014
Producer Price Index Down in August 2014, says Statistics Bureau
14:18  
29-9-2014
PEX Report: Index Slightly Up
14:11  
29-9-2014
Israeli Forces Arrest Six Palestinians from West Bank Districts
12:51  
29-9-2014
Newspaper Review: Palestinian Rejection of US Criticism of Abbas UN Speech Focus of Dailies
12:36  
29-9-2014
Israeli Army Demolishes Power Network near Nablus
12:24  
29-9-2014
Israel Partially Demolishes Building near Jerusalem, Provoking Clashes
10:22  
29-9-2014
Weather Forecast: Slight Drop in Temperature
17:58  
28-9-2014
Ashrawi: Israels Impunity Leads to its Deliberate destruction of Two-State solution
17:52  
28-9-2014
Israeli soldiers Shoot, Injure Farmer along Gaza Borders
16:24  
28-9-2014
Students Suffocate from Israeli Tear Gas near Bethlehem
15:37  
28-9-2014
Erekat Condemns U.S. State Departments Statements against Abbas Speech at UN
14:24  
28-9-2014
PEX Report: Index Begins Week Trading in Decline
14:05  
28-9-2014
Israeli Forces Arrest 3 in Jerusalem Area, Summon One for Interrogation
12:40  
28-9-2014
Pro-Palestine Protesters Prevent Israeli Vessel from Unloading Cargo at Oakland Port
12:16  
28-9-2014
Newspaper Review: Dailies Highlight U.S. Reaction to Abbas Speech in UN
11:53  
28-9-2014
Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers Proclaim Support to Palestinian Action towards End of Occupation
10:22  
28-9-2014
Weather Forecast: Temperature below Seasonal Average
16:02  
27-9-2014
Dozens Suffocation Cases in Clashes with Israeli Forces in Hebron
16:01  
27-9-2014
Foreign Minister Stresses Need for International Community to Uphold Responsibilities towards Palestinian People
13:58  
27-9-2014
Excerpts on Palestine from Speeches Delivered at UN General Assembly
13:53  
27-9-2014
Abbas at UN General Assembly: 3-Year Deadline to End Occupation Must be Set
13:51  
27-9-2014
Mdecins du monde Contributes to Reconstruction Effort of Gaza
13:01  
27-9-2014
Newspaper Review: Presidents Speech before UN General Assembly Focus of Dailies
12:59  
27-9-2014
Weather Forecast: Temperature Higher than Annual Average
17:54  
25-9-2014
Ashrawi: Its Time for UK, European Countries to Recognize state of Palestine
17:45  
25-9-2014
PEX Report: Index Up at End of Week Trading
17:30  
25-9-2014
Ten-Year-Old Injured in Settlers Deliberate Hit and Run
17:09  
25-9-2014
Russell Tribunal on Palestine Demands Ending Occupation, Enabling Palestinians to Exercise Right to Self-Determination
16:18  
25-9-2014
Deputy Prime Minister Announces Forming Public-Private Committee for Revitalizing Gaza Industrial Sector
13:21  
25-9-2014
Israeli Forces Close al-Jalama Checkpoint near Jenin
13:09  
25-9-2014
Israeli Forces Arrest Three Palestinians from West Bank Districts
13:06  
25-9-2014
Newspaper Review: Confrontations in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound Focus of Dailies
12:57  
25-9-2014
Weather Forecast: Temperature around Annual Average
17:21  
24-9-2014
Exports, Imports Decrease in July 2014, Says Statistics Bureau
16:32  
24-9-2014
PEX Report: Index Continues Down Trend
16:31  
24-9-2014
ICRC Increases Initial Budget to Meet Urgent Humanitarian Needs in Gaza
16:29  
24-9-2014
Foreign Ministry: Israeli Raids on al-Aqsa a Prelude for Spatial, Temporal Division
15:07  
24-9-2014
UK Labor Party Stresses Support to Independent Palestinian State
13:52  
24-9-2014
Israel Soldiers Prevent Farmer from Working in His Land near Nablus
13:17  
24-9-2014
Palestines Qalandiya International on Track to Open this October in Spite of Assault on Gaza
13:13  
24-9-2014
Newspaper Review: Israeli Forces Assassination of Two Palestinians, Abbas Speech in Cooper Union Focus of Dailies
facebook
Twitter

RSS
Youtube