Israel: concern over reports that British activist made to reveal phone contacts during airport detention in Israel
‘The UK must raise allegations that Gary Spedding’s privacy was blatantly breached’ - Patrick Corrigan
Amnesty International has raised concerns about the treatment of a British activist who has been detained by the Israeli authorities at Tel Aviv airport since yesterday.
Gary Spedding, 23, a well-known human rights activist, was detained on his arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday evening. According to Spedding’s account, he was questioned by security officials at the airport, who accessed his mobile phone’s contacts files without his permission.
Spedding is reportedly being deported from Israel later today and banned from re-entering Israel for ten years. The British embassy in Israel has reportedly been informed that Spedding is considered a security risk by the Israeli authorities because of the possibility that he could spark anti-government protests, aided by his high profile on social media.
Spedding, currently a Newcastle upon Tyne resident though with a well-established profile in Northern Ireland, is a former member of Queen’s University Belfast’s Palestinian Solidarity Society. He is known for his work on attempts to apply lessons learnt from the peace process in Northern Ireland to the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Director Patrick Corrigan said:
“If Israeli security officials have accessed Gary Spedding’s mobile phone contacts list without his permission that would constitute a very worrying invasion of his privacy.
“There are now concerns that a number of Mr Spedding’s contacts in Israel or in the Occupied Palestinian Territories may be subjected to some form of harassment by the Israeli authorities.
“Israel has the right to police its airports and borders and even deny entry to individuals it deems a security risk, but it does not have the right to rifle though a private citizen’s address book without their permission.
"The UK government must raise allegations that Gary Spedding’s privacy was blatantly breached, and also seek assurances that his personal contacts will not suffer harassment or reprisal.”
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