Israeli minister sees end to ‘stupid’ airport grilling of leftists

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Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi labeled the airport interrogations of left-wingers ‘stupidity’ and ‘folly.’ (Reuters)
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The questioning of Peter Beinart at Ben Gurion Airport prompted the Israeli security agency Shin Bet to describe the incident as ‘an administrative mistake.’ (AP Photo)
Updated 16 August 2018
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Israeli minister sees end to ‘stupid’ airport grilling of leftists

  • Israeli security cabinet minister denounces the interrogation of left-wing activists at the country’s main airport
  • Questioning of Peter Beinart at Ben Gurion Airport prompted the Israeli security agency Shin Bet to describe the incident as ‘an administrative mistake’

JERUSALEM: An Israeli security cabinet minister on Thursday denounced the interrogation of left-wing activists at the country’s main airport, and predicted that it would end after the singling-out of a visiting US Jewish columnist stirred controversy.
The questioning of Peter Beinart at Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday prompted the Israeli security agency Shin Bet, in a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, to describe the incident as “an administrative mistake.”
After Beinart, a columnist with the Jewish daily Forward, went public with his experience, several other liberal or pro-Palestinian activists — both foreigners and Israeli citizens — said that they had been similarly treated at Ben Gurion.
“This is stupidity,” Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said when asked about the airport interrogations of left-wingers. “It cannot be explained. It is folly, ridiculous.”
“I am certain that now there will be someone who stands there and will check that such stupidity does not recur,” Hanegbi told Israel’s Channel 13 television.
Security screening at Ben Gurion has always been stringent, but left-wing activists accuse authorities of subjecting them to scrutiny on political grounds as the right-wing Netanyahu government tries to counter pro-Palestinian boycott campaigns against Israel.


British-Iranian aid worker moved back to jail from hospital ward — husband

In this undated photo provided by the Free Nazanin Campaign, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe hugs her daughter Gabriella, in Iran. (AP)
Updated 7 min 27 sec ago
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British-Iranian aid worker moved back to jail from hospital ward — husband

  • British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament the fact she had been moved back to prison was “a positive sign”

LONDON: British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been transferred back to an Iranian prison from a hospital psychiatric ward, her husband said on Monday.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was moved to the psychiatric ward of Imam Khomeini hospital in the capital on July 15, the “Free Nazanin” campaign group run by her husband said last week.
“Nazanin has been returned from psychiatric hospital, and is now back in Evin prison,” her husband, Richard, said in a statement. She was discharged at her request and the request of the hospital doctor, the campaign group said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was told she had been admitted to hospital for a 10-day period of assessment. She received psychotherapy sessions, had physical checks and was prescribed some medicines, the campaign group seeking her release said.
In its release, the group quoted Zaghari-Ratcliffe saying that she was kept in a private room measuring 2 meters by 3 meters (6.5 feet by 9.8 feet) and was handcuffed and chained to the bed day and night.
The Iranian embassy in London declined immediate comment on the case.
“They did all they could to me – handcuffs, ankle cuffs, in a private room 2x3m, with thick curtains, and the door closed all the time,” she was quoted as saying. “I wasn’t allowed to leave the room, as I was chained to the bed.”
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament the fact she had been moved back to prison was “a positive sign.”
“The way that she was detained for a week without being able to have any access to her family was totally unacceptable and I am afraid all too predictable from the Iranian regime,” he said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit, and was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment.
Her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that operates independently of Thomson Reuters and Reuters News, deny the charge.