Tuesday, 1 June 2010


The Respect Party is calling on the British government to act urgently to secure the release of 28 British nationals who are confirmed missing after the Israeli assault on the Gaza aid flotilla. These were members and supporters of Viva Palestina, the Free Gaza movement and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. So far, the Foreign Office has failed to reply to urgent requests for information regarding the fate of these heroic volunteers.

All were aboard ships taking 10,000 tonnes of construction materials and human assistance to Gaza in defiance of the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade. The flotilla was attacked in international waters and so far 19 aid volunteers are known to have died. This was an act of piracy and murder.

All five ships were boarded, commandeered and towed to Ashdod port in Israel . The aid was confiscated and all the aid volunteers were arrested. The Israeli government has failed to release any information on their whereabouts or health so they are missing at this time. The full list of those who we know are missing is below.

Among them is Kevin Ovenden, the international coordinator and leading force in the creation and development of Viva Palestina. He has led three aid convoys to break the siege of Gaza since March 2009 and is the epitome of tireless heroism and sacrifice in support of Palestine .

Kevin is a hugely influential and cherished comrade in the Respect Party. He is a member of the Executive Committee, the National Council and a leading figure in Tower Hamlets Respect. He led the Viva Palestina group that joined the Gaza aid flotilla this week and carries the pride and passion of our entire party and movement with dignity and intelligence in this daring mission.

We demand the immediate release of Kevin Ovenden. The Respect Party has firm information that Kevin was unharmed in the assault on the flotilla and we expect his unharmed release from detention forthwith.

We demand the release of all those detained in this murderous attack. These people are heroes who have risked everything to help Palestine . They will be honoured upon return. In particular, we draw attention to Ahsan Shamruk, who travelled with Viva Palestina and was injured in the attack. He is reported to be in a stable condition and we send our thoughts and wishes for his safe return home. 

The full list of British nationals (provisional) is as follows:
Laura Macdonald Stuart
Ebrahim Musaji
Jamal Sayed
Parveen Yaqub
Baboo Adem Zanghar
Ahsan Shamruk
Mustafa Cengiz Ahmet
Tauqir Sharif
Boudejma Bounoua
Mohammad Bounoua
Sakir Yildirim
Kenneth O'Keefe
Ali El-Awaisi
Mohammed Bhaiyat
Lort Phillips Alexandra Mary
Sarah Nancy Colborne
Ismail Adam Patel
Nader Daher
Mahi Mohammed Abid
Nur-E-Azom Choudhury
Kevin Ovenden
Peter Venner
Clifford Gardner Hanley
Muzzammil Layth Chogley
Jamaluddin Mohammad Farid Elshayyal
Hassan Al Banna Ghani
Lazrag Salah
Ali Altan