Cynthia McKinney released, returning to United States

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McKinney released, returning to United States

By RHONDA COOK, LARRY HARTSTEIN

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sunday, July 05, 2009

cynthiamckinneypink-225Cynthia McKinney’s mom said she’s learned that her daughter is on the way home.

Leola McKinney said a friend who contacted the U.S. Embassy in Israel reported that the former congresswoman was released from Israeli custody and taken to Ben Gurion International Airport.

“We finally got word that she was released,” Leola McKinney said late Sunday afternoon. “We don’t know what time she is supposed to fly out. All we know is that they took her to the airport.

“I would be more relieved when I know she’s on the flight,” Leola McKinney added. “But I am relieved that she’s away from there.”

McKinney had been in custody since Tuesday, when she and 20 others were swept up by the Israeli Navy while allegedly trying to sail through a navy blockade. The group says it was attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza.

McKinney and the rest of her group could have been released soon after they were taken into custody but they refused to sign a document admitting they violated Israel’s blockade, according to McKinney’s parents. The group was due to appear in an Israeli court Sunday.

Leola McKinney said she had no information about the court hearing.

Leola McKinney said she had not spoken with her daughter since shortly after she was taken into custody.

Cynthia McKinney and other members of the “Free Gaza Movement ” left Cyprus Tuesday on the Greek-registered ship Arion.

Their ship was stopped when they tried to pass through the Israeli Navy’s security blockade at Ashdod. The group was taken into custody and their ship was seized. Israel officials promised to deliver by ground all of the humanitarian supplies that were on the boat.

Family, friends and supporters say Cynthia McKinney believed she was in international waters and was free to pass.

“The Israelis hijacked us because we wanted to give crayons to the children of Gaza,” Cynthia McKinney said in a recorded statement delivered via telephone and posted on the internet site YouTube.

The office of the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta said in a statement released Friday, “According to Israeli law Ms. McKinney and her fellow crew members were suggested to sign a form acknowledging their deportation… Since Ms. McKinney has refused to do so, she is expected to appear before an Israeli judge on Sunday, July 5, and afterwards be returned home as soon as possible.”

Civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery, head of the Atlanta-based Coalition for the People’s Agenda, said he and others have spoken by phone with the Consulate General of Israel.

“Whatever happened, there was no harm done,” Lowery said. “She was not carrying munitions, but medicine. We hope Israel will show compassion and release her and let her go on to deliver the much-needed medicine to the Gaza Strip. … If she were carrying guns, that would be a different thing. [But] she was carrying humanitarian aid.”

Israeli officials blame McKinney and her group for the controversy, saying they were looking for confrontation to attract publicity. The officials note that Palestinian Authority and the rest of the international community had agreed to the off-shore blockade to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, which is classified by the U.S. and European Union as a terrorist organization.

Leola McKinney said the trip would have received no “publicity if they had been allowed to deliver supplies to Gaza. They [Israel] made an issue out of it by taking the boat and escorting them into Israel.”

Billy McKinney, Cynthia McKinney’s father and a former state legislator, said his daughter was only trying to show “the devastation in Gaza… Anybody who has a humanitarian spirit would not want to see those people live in those conditions.”

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Cynthia Mckinney Kidnapped & Detained by Israeli Government-Free Cynthia McKinney

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CynthiaMckinneyred-225Green Party: President Obama and the US State Dept. must demand release of Cynthia McKinney and 20 other human rights activists on Free Gaza relief boat seized by Israeli gunboats
• The Free Gaza’s ‘Spirit of Humanity’ was delivering medical and other supplies following Obama’s call for relief to wartorn Gaza; the boat was in international waters

 WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party leaders are calling on the White House and US State Department to intervene and demand the immediate release of 21 human rights activists, including former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney and Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire, who were taken prisoner by the Israeli navy after gunboats surrounded and seized the Free Gaza Movement relief boat ‘Spirit of Humanity’ on Monday.
“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us.  Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party’s 2008 candidate for President of the United States.  “President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do.  We’re asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey.”
Read Cynthia McKinney’s latest statement here: http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/hope-fleet-news/970-call-off-your-attack-dogs-cynthia-mckinney
Ms. McKinney had earlier sent appeals to President Obama and the State Department for assurances of protection for the relief mission.  The Spirit of Humanity was sailing in international waters when it was seized.  Greens stressed that the relief boat represents no threat to Israel and must be allowed to continue its voyage to Gaza.
For more information and updates, see the Free Gaza Movement web site (http://www.freegaza.org), including the latest release on the seizure of the relief boat (http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/hope-fleet-news/976-israel-attacks-justice-boat-kidnaps-human-rights-workers-confiscates-medicine-toys-and-olive-trees).
For communications and updates from Cynthia McKinney, visit her Green Party page (http://www.gp.org/cynthia/index.php) and blog (http://dignity.ning.com).
The Spirit of Humanity was carrying medical supplies, cement, olive trees, and children’s toys to Gaza after the Israeli invasion in December and January damaged or destroyed 50,000 homes, 800 industrial properties and 200 schools damaged or destroyed, 39 mosques, and two churches.  The supplies were confiscated by the Israeli navy.
The Green Party of the United States condemned the invasion and massacre of Palestinians and has endorsed the call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until the Israeli government guarantees full human rights, including political rights and democracy, for all Palestinians and non-Jewish Israelis.

 

MORE INFORMATION
Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
• Green candidate database for 2008 and other campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml
• Green Party News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
• Green Party Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
• Green Party ballot access page http://www.gp.org/2008-elections
• International Committee of the Green Party: http://www.gp.org/committees/intl
Green Party releases:
• “Breaking news: Cynthia McKinney aboard detained Free Gaza Movement relief boat,” June 25, 2009 http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=228
• “Greens join Global Day of Action for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on March 30 to end the Israeli occupation,” March 26, 2009 http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=192
• “Green Party: Israel-Palestine truce must include end of Israeli occupation and observance of international law or violence is likely to resume,” January 19, 2009 http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=169
2009 Annual National Meeting of the Green Party, Durham, NC, July 23-26 http://www.gp.org/2009-ANM
• North Carolina page http://ncgreenparty.org/2009-ANM.html
• Media credentialing page http://www.gp.org/forms/media
Green Pages, Vol. 13, No. 1
The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States
http://gp.org/greenpages-blog

 

EMERGENCY DEMONSTRATION
Against Israeli Piracy & Kidnapping
Free Cynthia McKinney and all kidnapped human rights workers!

WEDNESDAY 4-6 PM

at the

ISRAELI MISSION
800 Second Avenue
(Second Avenue @ 43rd St.)

Last night, Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

The seizure of humanitarian supplies and abduction of human rights workers is an act of piracy, a crime under international law.  When the boat was attacked, it was not in Israeli waters and was on a human rights mission to Gaza.  Israel’s deliberate and premeditated attack on an unarmed boat in international waters is a clear violation of international law.  Join us tomorrow from 4 to 6 pm at the Israeli Mission to demand an immediate and unconditional release of the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, all 21 human rights workers, and the humanitarian supplies.

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel’s December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.
Let the Humanitarian Aid through!
Free Cynthia McKinney and all kidnapped human rights workers!
Stop the blockade of Gaza!

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