Irish citizen harassed on Dublin street by Israeli security operative
rights, freedoms and repression |
Wednesday March 10, 2010 11:20 by Fintan Lane - IPSC media officer 087 1258325
Harassment of Irish human rights activist on Dublin street by Israeli embassy security condemned
I'm a Photographer, not a Terrorist
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) is calling on the Departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs to clarify the latitude and legal standing accorded to foreign embassy security personnel in Ireland.
This follows the harassment yesterday (8 March) - on a public street in Dublin - of a leading Irish Palestine solidarity activist by a member of the Israeli embassy security team.
Dr David Landy, chairperson of the IPSC, described what occurred as “an outrageous breach of protocol” and “very sinister.” Furthermore, he called on the relevant government departments “to seek an immediate explanation and apology from the Israeli ambassador.”
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Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign - www.IPSC.ie
In the bizarre incident, Freda Hughes, a prominent member of the IPSC, was aggressively questioned about her name and movements by an Israeli embassy staff member while walking on Northumberland Road in Dublin 4.
According to Ms Hughes, “While out walking, I passed the Israeli embassy at around 5.30pm with a friend of mine. I approached from Pembroke Road and rounded the bend onto Northumberland Road. A member of the embassy staff and a Garda were outside the embassy on the Pembroke Road side. I didn’t engage with them in any way whatsoever and simply walked past while chatting to my friend.”
She continued, “Further up the road, I stopped at the disused petrol station on Northumberland Road to take a photograph of a piece of graffiti because I’m currently compiling an album of Dublin street art. At this point, I was amazed to discover that I had been followed by both the Israeli security man and the Garda. This was some distance from the embassy building and, to be honest, I hadn’t realised that they’d paid any attention to me, so I was rather taken aback.”
“The two men approached me together and the Garda asked where I had come from and where I was going. Then, to my surprise, the Israeli embassy staff member, who I think is himself Israeli, questioned me about my name and movements, and then demanded to see my camera. I refused to answer his questions or show him my camera.”
Freda Hughes is a teacher and educational researcher in the National University of Ireland. She is well known as an advocate of Palestinian human rights. Last December, she and a colleague from Trinity College, Dublin tried to attend a conference on migrants’ rights organised by the Israeli embassy and were refused entry at the door because both are associated with the IPSC. At that time, the same Israeli security man who questioned her yesterday on Northumberland Road attempted to search her bag, allegedly for weapons, in a disgraceful effort to embarrass her in front of other academics.
Referring to yesterday’s incident, Ms Hughes said: “The Israeli security man told me that he recognised me and had spoken to the Gardai about me to ensure that I would be arrested should I ever attempt to attend a conference on migrants' rights again. This, of course, is a nonsensical threat as I have attended many conferences on the subject and will continue to do so as part of my research. I assume that he meant 'Israeli embassy organised' conferences, but this is also ridiculous. I’ve never done anything that would constitute grounds for arrest and it’s outrageous that I should be threatened in this way by an Israeli security man on a public street in Ireland. Moreover, it is both shocking and disappointing that the Garda present allowed this to occur.”
Ms Hughes has now lodged a formal complaint with the Garda authorities about the behaviour of the Israeli security staff member.
She said: “This member of the Israeli embassy security team questioned me about my name and movements outside the grounds of his embassy. He had no right to do so and I believe that this constitutes harassment.”
Condemning the incident, Dr David Landy of the IPSC remarked, “The arrogance involved is breathtaking. Since when are the security personnel of foreign governments allowed to accost and harass Irish citizens on the streets of an Irish city? It’s an outrage.”
Dr Landy continued, “Of course, what happened chimes with the recent abuse of forged Irish passports by an Israeli hit team in Dubai. The harassment of Freda Hughes, a respected human rights activist, further shows the contempt that Israel has for the Irish people. This incident should be fully investigated and an apology should be demanded from the Israeli embassy.”
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