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NEWS: Heap was Tasered when taken from Gaza-bound boat

The Canadian Press reports, “A Canadian on board one of two vessels seized by Israeli forces as they tried to run a naval blockade of Gaza said Sunday that he was zapped with a Taser and bruised as he was taken into custody. ‘Although I was tasered during the assault on the Tahrir, and bruised during forcible removal dockside (I am limping slightly as a result) I am basically ok,’ said David Heap of London, Ont in a statement released by the group Canadian Boat to Gaza.”

Heap is a Council of Canadians London chapter activist and the son of former MP Dan Heap and activist Alice Heap.

“The Tahrir, a Canadian owned vessel, along with an Irish ship were seized Friday as they tried to carry medical aid to Gaza. Israeli forces sprayed the vessel with a water cannon before they boarded the ship and towed it to the Israeli port of Ashdod, north of Gaza. Heap and some 21 other activists, including two other Canadians were taken into custody by Israel, which has indicated it intends to deport them sometime this week. Israel said Saturday that no one was hurt in the boarding of the vessels, but wasn’t immediately available to respond to Heap’s claims of being roughed up. Heap said he and his shipmates were being detained in Givon Prison near Ramla and complained in the statement that he was locked in a cell, denied free communication with the outside world and wasn’t receiving adequate writing and reading materials.”

“A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued a statement Saturday that Canadian diplomats were closely watching the situation and “liaising with Israeli authorities” to provide consular assistance. There was no immediate reaction from Canadian officials to Heap’s claims of being roughed up. Baird has warned in the past that Canada can’t protect Canadians who break the laws of other countries. He urged those wishing to deliver aid to do so through ‘established channels’.”

Last week, the Irish Times reported, “An Irish ship, the MV Saoirse, (carrying 14 people), yesterday entered international waters en route to Gaza as part of a joint Irish-Canadian effort to break Israel’s naval blockade of the territory. Those participating in the two-vessel flotilla hope to reach Gaza on Friday… The Canadian boat, named Tahrir (Liberation) is carrying 12 people.” The flotilla is part of the Freedom Waves to Gaza initiative, a non-violent, civil society movement to challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

At its annual general meeting in Montreal on October 23, the Council of Canadians passed a resolution resolving that the Council of Canadians: support the Canadian Boat to Gaza to end the illegal blockade of Gaza; call on the Government of Canada, the United Nations and the international community to do everything in their power to ensure the safe passage of the Canadian Boat to Gaza and the safety of all those aboard; call for an end to the blockade of Gaza, in accordance with international law.

As noted on the http://www.tahrir.ca website, “This situation is developing. For updates, stay tuned to: Twitter (@CanadaBoatGaza and #freedomwaves), Facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaza, tahrir.ca, ustogaza.org, freegazaoz.org, and irishshiptogaza.org.”