Wed, Oct 06, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Nobel laureate loses deportation appeal

AFP, JERUSALEM

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by Northern Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate and activist Mairead Maguire against her deportation, the Adalah legal rights group representing her said.

“The Supreme Court rejected Mairead Maguire’s appeal against a court decision ordering her expulsion from Israel,” Adalah spokesman Salah Mohsen told reporters. “Her deportation could now take place at any time.”

It was not yet known when the expulsion order will be implemented.

Maguire, 66, arrived in Israel on Tuesday last week, but was denied entry at Ben Gurion airport because she had been deported in June for trying to reach the Gaza Strip by boat in defiance of an Israeli naval blockade.

She appeared on Monday before three Supreme Court justices in a bid to overturn a lower court decision on Friday which ordered her to be deported within 48 hours.

She was in fighting spirit when she arrived at the Jerusalem courtroom ahead of the verdict.

“There will be peace in this country, I believe, but only when Israel ends apartheid and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people,” she told reporters.

Israeli prosecutors said that Maguire was advised in June that she would be banned from returning to Israel for 10 years. Maguire denies she was given any such advice.

“I asked them when I was leaving whether I would be able to come back and I was assured that I would,” Adalah staffer Nadia Ben-Youssef, who was with Maguire in court on Monday, quoted her as saying.

Maguire was one of 19 activists on board the Irish-owned Rachel Corrie, which tried and failed to reach Gaza in early June a week after Israeli forces botched a raid on a six-ship flotilla heading for the coastal enclave, killing nine Turkish activists.

She had planned to lead a delegation of women on a week-long tour of Israel and the Palestinian territories to highlight the work of women peace activists.

Maguire was joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 as cofounder of the Community of Peace People movement in Northern Ireland.

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