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Green Party LogoCynthia McKinney is scheduled to arrive at DC's Ronald Reagan National Airport today (Tuesday, July 7) at 11:55 am ET: will meet with reporters to discuss the illegal capture and detention of the Free Gaza 21 by Israel


For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,

McKinney will meet with reporters upon her arrival; interviews can also be arranged (call Don DeBar at 914-945-0815)

Daily vigil for the Free Gaza 21 and for Palestinians suffering the effects of the Israeli occupation and the invasion of Gaza: every evening at the Van Ness Metro Station (Red Line) near the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, 5 to 6 pm

WASHINGTON, DC -- Cynthia McKinney is scheduled to arrive at Ronald Reagan National Airport near Washington, DC, this morning (Tuesday, July 7) following her detention in an Israeli prison during the past week along with others in the 'Free Gaza 21'.

Ms. McKinney's flight (American - El Al Airlines 8139 from New York, following a flight from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv) will arrive at 11:55 am ET.

Reporters are invited to meet with Ms. McKinney, a former member of Congress from Georgia and the Green Party's 2008 presidential nominee, upon her arrival at the airport. Interviews can also be arranged: call Don DeBar at 914-945-0815.

Cynthia McKinney and 20 other human rights advocates involved in the Free Gaza Movement (, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, were on board the Spirit of Humanity to deliver medical supplies, construction materials, and toys to Gaza when the boat was intercepted and seized by Israeli gunboats last Monday.

The actions of the Israeli navy were illegal and constitute an act of piracy, since the relief boat was in international waters. After the boat was captured, the passengers were detained in a prison in Ramla, Israel.

Late last week, Israeli authorities pressed Ms. McKinney to sign a statement in Hebrew (which Ms. McKinney does not speak) that allegedly declared that the Spirit of Humanity was trespassing in Israeli waters and violating Israeli law. Ms. McKinney refused to sign the statement. As a result of her refusal, Ms. McKinney was told that her detention would last three more days. On Sunday, the US embassy in Tel Aviv confirmed that McKinney and some others were moved to the Ben Gurion International Airport in preparation for their deportation.

Members and supporters of the Free Gaza 21 have expressed concern about some of the human rights activists still held in Israel. According to recent communications, Mairead Maguire had initially chosen to stay in the Ramla prison in solidarity with Muslim members of the Free Gaza 21 from Yemen, Jordon, the United Kingdom, Scotland, Palestine, and Denmark, but a Haaretz (Israel) news article has stated that Ms. Maguire would be deported ( Accorrding to later messages, the activists from the UK and Scotland are also being deported.

Cynthia McKinney has stressed that President Obama had urged delivery of medical and other supplies to Gaza in the wake of Israel's brutal invasion last December and January. Last Thursday, the Green Party published the following statement from Ms. McKinney, which was communicated by phone from her cell in Ramla:

"We were in international waters on a boat delivering humanitarian aid to people in Gaza when the Israeli Navy ships surrounded us and illegally threatened us, dismantled our navigation equipment, boarded and confiscated the ship. All of us on board were then taken off the ship and into custody, and brought into Israel and imprisoned. Immigration officials in Israel said they did not want to keep us, but we remain imprisoned. State Department and White House officials have not effected our release or taken a strong public stance to condemn the illegal actions of the Israeli Navy of enforcing a blockade of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians of Gaza, a blockade that has been condemned by President Obama."

In another communication, Ms. McKinney said, "It is incumbent upon President Obama to stand by his reported policy of easing the Gazan blockade and of allowing building supplies, medical supplies, and school supplies to go through," adding "we call upon President Obama to use the highest level of his authority to transmit this message to the Israelis."

Audio clips of calls from Cynthia McKinney have been posted on line ( For further information and updates, see the Free Gaza Movement web site ( For more communications and updates from Cynthia McKinney, visit her Green Party page ( and blog (

The Green Party of the United States called for the immediate release of the Free Gaza 21 and for permission for the Spirit of Humanity to resume its delivery of urgently needed medical and other supplies to Gaza (

Green leaders have urged party members and others concerned about the situation to call the White House, the US State Department, and members of Congress. A daily vigil for the Free Gaza 21 and for Palestinians suffering the effects of the Israeli occupation and the invasion of Gaza is continuing each evening at the Van Ness Metro Station (Red Line) near the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, from 5 to 6 pm.

On July 2, Democracy Now! interviewed Ms. Maguire from her prison cell (


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