Court: Nobel laureate won't enter Israel
Mairead Maguire, who was detained at Ben Gurion Airport for taking part in Gaza-bound sail in late May, rejects court's suggestion that she return to Ireland and submit formal entry request. 'I swore during visit to concentration camps not to keep quiet in the face of suffering children,' she says
The Petah Tikva District Court on Friday denied an appeal filed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire against the State's decision to ban her from entering Israel due to her participation in the Gaza-bound flotilla.
The court issued an order delaying the deportation in order to allow Maguire to petition the Supreme Court. Judge Rami Amir ruled that she would stay in an airport detention facility and not in a detention facility for illegal aliens.
Maguire responded to the ruling by saying that she hoped she would be able to enter Israel. She added that she would petition the Supreme Court on Sunday. "I have friends in Israel and it's important for me to enter," she said.
Maguire's lawyer, Fatma Ajoun, said she would petition the ruling. "This is a fundamental and factual mistake. Ms. Maguire received no document ordering her deportation and removal, despite what was said in court. She received no document in English. We believe there is no basis for keeping Maguire away and that she poses no risk. She is here to spread the issue of peace."
Judge: She received the order
The judge stated in his ruling that the claim that Maguire did not receive the restraining order was not true, as he had evidence that it was handed to her "in a document of the deputy Irish ambassador, which was only prepared the day before yesterday and submitted by Maguire's representative. This document confirms that Maguire was given the restraining order on June 2010."
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Earlier, Maguire declined the court's offer that she return to Ireland to submit a request that the order barring her entry into Israel be cancelled.
Maguire, who was detained at Ben Gurion Airport upon landing in Israel earlier this week, said that she swore during a visit to the concentration camps not to keep quiet in the face of suffering children, as there are in the Gaza Strip, according to her.
The court suggested that she submit a request to Interior Minister Eli Yishai from Ireland for an entry visa to Israel.
Judge Amir said Maguire should not remain in custody because she is not a criminal, but added that she should not have violated the Interior Ministry's decision but rather file a formal entry request before leaving for Israel.
'She's not violent.' Vanunu with Maguire in court (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Prior to the hearing, Maguire said she had arrived in Israel to attend a conference of Nobel laureates, scheduled for Saturday. She said Israeli authorities informed her she was banned from the country for a period of 10 years. Maguire said she wanted to return to "Israel and Palestine" to support peace.
Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, who attended the court hearing, said Maguire "is not violent; she wants peace and supports peace.
"She has brought peace to her country and wants to bring peace to this region as well," he added. "She supports the Palestinians' right to liberty."
Maguire's attorney, Orna Cohen, said the Nobel laureate arrived in Israel aboard the "Rachel Corrie" boat, not aboard the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara, which was raided by Israeli commandoes in late May.
Cohen said that after the activists aboard the "Rachel Corrie" were taken to Ashdod Port, it was agreed that a permanent order barring their entry to Israel would not be issued. The attorney said no such order was presented to Maguire upon her arrival in Israel and was only told that the order appears on the airport's computer system.
Raanan Ben-Zur, Magali Skidelsky contributed to the report
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