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Updated: October 5, 2010 20:58 IST

Israel deports Irish Nobel laureate

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File Photo of Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, who was deported from Israel early on Tuesday after being held in detention for two weeks.
The Hindu
File Photo of Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, who was deported from Israel early on Tuesday after being held in detention for two weeks.

Israel deported Irish Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire on Tuesday, after the country’s highest court rejected her appeal against a deportation order. “The supreme court yesterday ruled that she must be deported and we acted accordingly,” Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabin Hadad said.

“She took off today at 4 am (0200 GMT),” Hadad told the German Press Agency.

The Jerusalem court late on Monday rejected Maguire’s appeal against a 10-year entry ban into the country. The Nobel laureate argued she had not been aware that she signed a no-entry document following her arrest in June aboard a vessel trying to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. She was deported back to Ireland after the ship was stopped.

Maguire, 66, arrived in Israel last week but was told she could not enter. She refused to leave and was subsequently held at a detention facility at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv.

Adalah, a legal centre for Arab minority rights in Israel which represented Maguire, blasted the supreme court ruling as a “severe miscarriage of justice.” The decision reflected a refusal to intervene in the Interior Ministry’s “often-used” policy of barring entry to prominent foreign critics of “Israeli occupation policies against the Palestinians,” Adalah, said.

The Supreme Court said that its decision did not prevent Maguire from appealing the 10-year deportation order from abroad. Maguire had been told by Israeli security personnel that no sanctions would be imposed on her for her participation in the attempt to breach the Gaza blockade aboard the Irish Rachel Corrie in June, Adalah said.

Had she known that a deportation order existed, Maguire told the court, she would not have tried to enter Israel as part of a delegation of women who had won a Nobel prize. The group was due to visit female Jewish and Palestinian peace activists in Israel and the West Bank.

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