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UK-Based Jamaican Among Activists Detained By Israel

CaribWorldNews, LONDON, England, Thurs. July 2, 2009: A 41-year-old Jamaican-born, UK-based, TV documentary film maker and journalist, is among 19 other human rights activists who are being detained after an aid boat they were on, was intercepted by Israeli authorities, reports indicate.

The Free Gaza Movement claims that the boat, `The Spirit of Humanity,` laden with medical supplies for the people of Palestine, was `kidnapped on June 30, by Israeli Occupation Forces.

Ishmahil Blagrove, a human rights and social justice activist and a documentary filmmaker who has spoken extensively about the Palestinian struggles for over twenty years, was reportedly held  by Israeli forces while attempting to deliver medical supplies
from the small boat. 

Blagrove made the original documentary, `Blood Diamonds,` that was broadcast on BBC2  in 2000. His production company, Rice N Peas Films, has gained a solid reputation for producing hard-hitting social documentaries, which include: `Acholi Wedding,` (Uganda 2006), `With OrWithout Fidel,` (Cuba 2007), and most recently `This Is Our Country Too,` (Australia 2008), a documentary that exposed the marginalization and discrimination towards Australia`s
indigenous population.

The ship, which also included Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as passengers, was allegedly stopped by Israeli warships with threats of gunfire.

The  Free Gaza movement said  the boat was carrying medical and reconstruction supplies as well as children`s toys and could not possibly constitute any sort of threat to Israel. 

The vessel was searched and received security clearance from the Cypriot Port Authorities before departing and never approached Israeli waters, movement officials said.
So far, a Danish national and an American have been reportedly freed by the Israeli forces. Many of those being held are from Bahrain, the UK and the U.S.

The U.S. State Department yesterday confirmed the Israeli Navy arrested those passengers on board the `Free Gaza` ship but said the passengers are `safe and all accounted for.`

A spokesman also said that the U.S. Embassy in Israel is seeking consular access to the American citizens.
`We can`t comment on any of the individuals or the number of individual American citizens on board because of Privacy Act concern,` said department spokesman Ian Kelly yesterday at the daily press briefing. `Our Embassy has been in touch with the Israeli authorities. We have been told that the boat was stopped in Israeli waters and is being escorted to an Israeli port, or may have already gone to an Israeli port. We understand passengers are safe and all accounted for. We`re seeking consular access to the American citizens who are on board. And we don`t take any position regarding the Free Gaza Movement or any of its messages.`

On Wednesday, New York City Councilmember, Charles Barron, led a protest outside the Israeli Mission in NY, to denounce the Israeli blockade of Gaza and to call on all elected leaders to stand up against the inhumane treatment of the peoples of Gaza.

`I am asking President Obama to back up his speech in Egypt with some action! Tell Prime Minister Netanyahu to allow the ship to pass and to assure the safe return home of Cythina McKinney and all aboard. It is in international waters and is on a mission of peace,` said Barron.