Spaniards detained in Israel refuse to be deported

1st June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Three Spanish nationals who were detained on the Gaza aid flotilla have refused to be repatriated and are being held at a detention centre in Israel, Spain's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry had recommended that aid workers Manuel Tapial and Laura Arau and journalist David Segarra sign their expulsion orders.

A Spanish diplomat met them on Tuesday at the detention centre at Beersheva south of Tel Aviv.

"What would be best for everyone is that they return home as soon as possible, but it is up to them to make the decision," said Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

If they refuse to agree to their explulsion "for legitimate reasons", the procedure to bring them home "will be longer", he warned.

The aid workers belong to a Spanish NGO called "Culture, Peace and Solidarity Haydee Santamaria" while the journalist worked for Venezuelan television station Telesur.

The UN Security Council had called for the release of all ships and individuals detained Monday when Israeli commandos boarded an aid ship bound for Hamas-run Gaza Strip in a pre-dawn raid that left at least nine people dead.

There were 686 passengers from 38 countries on board the Turkish ship, one of six that was part of the aid flotilla, according to Israeli military radio.

The Israeli interior ministry said 45 passengers on the ship would be deported on Tuesday.

© 2010 AFP

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