Unjust Detention

Tracy Van Slyke

Below is a press release I received today from the International Solidarity Movement. It gives the latest details on the story of an American woman being denied entry into Israel due to her political beliefs. Interesting how democracy works, isn't it? Below the press release are numbers and emails to contact Israeli and American officials to lodge your complaint.U.S. Peace Activist Remains in Detention After Hearing State of Israel refuses to allow defense to view ???secret evidence???[Tel Aviv] American peace activist Ann Petter who has been detained for 14 days at Ben Gurion airport, appeared today before Judge Oded Mudrik at Tel Aviv District Court. Petter was charged with being a security threat to the State of Israel. Judge Mudrik postponed the decision on Petter???s case until Thursday, July 8, 2004 at 11:30 a.m. in Tel Aviv District Court. Petter is a 44-year old graphic designer from New York who planned to attend a nonviolent peace march organized by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Judge Mudrik refused to release Petter from detention while the decision is pending.Petter arrived in Israel with a video camera; she intended to document the work of Palestinian, Israeli, and international peace activists, one of whom is 79-year old Holocaust survivor, Hedy Epstein. Petter???s attorneys, Yael Berda and Shamai Leibovitz, stated that with these intentions, Petter does not pose a security threat to the State of Israel as alleged by the prosecution, but rather poses only a public relations threat. Furthermore, the defense asserted that people must not be denied entry into Israel on the basis of their political beliefs. People who are suspected of having any affiliation with Palestinians are routinely interrogated at Ben Gurion airport regarding their political opinions and affiliations.The prosecution sought to submit secret evidence on behalf of the State of Israel detailing Petter???s participation in activities that allegedly prove her affiliation with terrorist organizations. Petter???s attorneys objected to the submission of such evidence based on the fact that it could not be reviewed by the defendant or her attorneys.??In her personal statement to the court, Petter stated: ???I hope you will reconsider the decision to not allow me into the country. I believe it is important for me to be here because of the close relationship between Israel and America. I am a member of many peace organizations in the United States. I believe the International Solidarity Movement prevents violence and perpetuates non-violence along the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. ISM volunteers also serve as witnesses with their eyes and cameras. I think it is an important role for civilians to play.???Please call, write and fax ASAP to the following: Ask the US government to protest the way that American citizens are being treated by America's "closest aly".?? Let the Israeli government know that you are concerned that Israel is using a person's political beliefs determine whether or not he/she can enter the country.?? This is a violation of the basic principles of democracy.U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv tel. +972-3-6197575 Email:?? .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) //= 0; i=i-1){ if (l.substring(0, 1) == ' ') output += "&#"+unescape(l.substring(1))+";"; else output += unescape(l); } document.getElementById('eeEncEmail_gAyjqjeNgZ').innerHTML = output; //]]>U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520 tel. 202-647-4000Interior Minister Avraham Poraz (fax: +972-2-5666376)(fax: 972-2-6701628)(fax: 972-2-6701585) Email:?? .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) //= 0; i=i-1){ if (l.substring(0, 1) == ' ') output += "&#"+unescape(l.substring(1))+";"; else output += unescape(l); } document.getElementById('eeEncEmail_bJTELOzCUd').innerHTML = output; //]]>Enav Golomb Justice Ministry State Attorney's Office Fax:?? 011-972-2-646-6655Silvan Shalom Foreign Minister Fax:?? 011-972-2-530-3367 Email:?? .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) //= 0; i=i-1){ if (l.substring(0, 1) == ' ') output += "&#"+unescape(l.substring(1))+";"; else output += unescape(l); } document.getElementById('eeEncEmail_PwAN6wKSrO').innerHTML = output; //]]>Find the Nearest Israeli embassy

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Tracy Van Slyke, a former publisher of In These Times, is the project director for The Media Consortium.
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