Israel airport arrests: Campaigners fly back to the UK

A retired East Sussex lecturer detained in Israel with a group of peace campaigners has flown back to the UK.

John Lynes, 83, from St Leonards, and Mick Napier, 64, chairman of The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, were both deported by officials.

They were among a group of 13 people who were detained at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Friday.

The others remain in Israel and are refusing to eat, but some are expected to return to the UK later on Tuesday.

The group included five English people, four Welsh people and four Scots.

The group had planned to attend events in support of Palestinians in the West Bank.

About 700 people from around the world had intended to visit Bethlehem on the invitation of families there.

'Situation of lawlessness'

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign was co-ordinating the British arm of the visit.

University lecturer Mr Napier said the members of his group began a hunger strike after information on charges against them was not provided and they were denied a phone call.

"We were chained, handcuffed and detained for no apparent reason - we had committed no crimes - no UK or Israeli law was breached.

"We were denied any information about any charges against us and were also denied a telephone call over the entire period we were in prison.

"It was a situation of lawlessness," he said.

Mr Napier added that about 124 people taking part on the planned visit were held by Israeli officials.

The English passengers were Mr Lynes; Audrey Gray, 77, a retired nurse from West Chiltington, West Sussex; Val Kitchen, 68, from Tonbridge, Kent; Anne Gray, 66, a retired academic from London; and Les Levidow, 61, an Open University research fellow who works in Milton Keynes.

The four Welsh passengers were Pippa Bartolotti, 57, deputy leader of the Wales Green Party; Dee Murphy, 56, from Swansea, founder member of Swansea Palestine Community Link; Joyce Giblin and Fiona Williams.

The other Scots were Frank Thomas, 66, a retired statistician from Edinburgh; Ian Stewart-Hargreaves, who lives on the Isle of Lewis; and Joy Cherkaoui, a community worker from Dumfries and Galloway.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites