Posts Tagged ‘Cynthia McKinney’

McKinney Released

July 6, 2009

McKinney released, returning to United States
By RHONDA COOK, LARRY HARTSTEIN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Sunday, July 05, 2009

Cynthia 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.
See the McKinney video

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“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 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkPvzSZRuDo].

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.”

Cynthis McKinney imprisoned in Israel

July 6, 2009

Israelis intercept Gaza aid ship
June 30, 2009, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8127145.stm

Israeli forces have boarded a ship trying to carry aid and pro-Palestinian activists to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s blockade of the territory. The 20 passengers include former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire. Ms McKinney described it as “an outrageous violation of international law”, as the boat was on a humanitarian mission and was not in Israeli waters. The US-based Free Gaza Movement has breached the blockade five times since August 2008. Two other attempts by the activist group were stopped by Israeli warships during Israel’s three-week military offensive in Gaza in December and January. The mission is the latest by the Free Gaza Movement, which has renamed the ferry Spirit of Humanity. “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 Ms McKinney in a statement. “President [Barack] 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.” On Monday, a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross described the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza as people “trapped in despair”, unable to rebuild their lives after Israel’s offensive. Donors have pledged $4.5 billion for reconstruction and rehabilitation in Gaza following the 22-day offensive which left more than 50,000 homes, 800 industrial properties and 200 schools damaged or destroyed, as well as 39 mosques and two churches.