Israel expels South African human rights activist

'Humiliated' activist detained and strip-searched, spends day at detention facility, before being flown out of the country

Israel expels South African human rights activist

World Bulletin / News Desk

A South Africa human rights activist claimed Friday that Israeli authorities humiliated him last week by strip-searching him before deporting him from the country.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Itani Rasalanavho said he was pulled out of a queue upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv last Friday.

“I was interrogated about the purpose of my visit. I told them I was here for church human rights work, but instead I was detained and strip-searched,” he told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

Rasalanavho said he was travelling to Palestine to join the Christian Peacemakers Team (CPT), an organization that does global human rights work including in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

“I was detained for three hours at the airport before being taken to a detention facility where I spent a whole day,” he said.

The activist says after confiscating his passport, Israeli officials escorted him to the airport the next day where he was flown to Ethiopia and later back to South Africa.

“I was seriously humiliated by their actions,” he said.

When contacted by Anadolu Agency, a Ben Gurion Airport official there said he was not aware of the incident, and referred the correspondent to Foreign Ministry officials who could not be reached by press time.

Rasalanavho joins a growing list of South African activists who have been deported or denied entry to Palestine by Israeli authorities.

Johannesburg-based academic Na’eem Jeenah was deported in 2011 by Israel on accusations that he supports armed resistance against Israel.

South African Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande was also denied entry to Palestine by Israel in 2015 despite travelling on official government business.

Many South Africans, including the ruling African National Congress (ANC), have publicly expressed their unwavering support for the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.

When contacted for a comment, Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Arthur Lenk told Anadolu Agency he did not know the details of the specific case.

“Every country, South Africa and Turkey included, doesn't let in all foreigners for a wide variety of reasons. Would SA or Turkey allow an ‘activist’ that wants to enter to verbally (or otherwise) attack it?” he said in a private Twitter conversation. He said all states, Israel included, reserve that discretion.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Mayıs 2016, 08:16