Rights Group Files FOIA Requests Regarding Israel Attack on Flotilla Delivering Aid to Gaza

For Immediate Release

Rights Group Files FOIA Requests Regarding Israel Attack on Flotilla Delivering Aid to Gaza

Questions Asked Regarding U.S. Knowledge of, and Response to, Attack that Killed One U.S. Citizen, Others Injured and Detained

WASHINGTON - Yesterday, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed eight
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding the United States
government's knowledge of, and actions in relation to, the May 31, 2010
attack by Israel on a flotilla of six vessels in international waters
seeking to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, and U.S. policy towards the
blockade of Gaza, which has entered its fourth year. The FOIA requests
were made to a number of U.S. departments and agencies, including the
Coast Guard, the Department of State, the Navy and the U.S. European
Command.

"One U.S. citizen was killed, others were injured, detained and
had their property taken, and a U.S.-registered vessel seized by Israel
during its attack in international waters last month," said CCR
attorney Katherine Gallagher
. "Serious questions remain
unanswered about the U.S. response to the attack, its actions and
policies, particularly in the context of the blockade of Gaza,
internationally condemned as illegal and unjust. Citizens need to know
their government will protect their rights under U.S. and international
law vis-à-vis a foreign government, including Israel-the biggest
recipient of U.S. aid over the last fifty years."

 
Specifically, the FOIA requests seek information on what, if any,
communications were made between the U.S. government and Israel prior to
and after the attack; what, if any, information the U.S. shared before
or after with Israel about any of the U.S. citizens abroad; what was
done to secure the release of detained citizens; and what is being done
to return property seized from U.S. citizens and other passengers and to
ensure that such property, which includes evidence for any
investigations into the attack, is not tampered with or destroyed. A
FOIA request was also made regarding communications with other countries
and with organizations such as NATO in relation to the attack on the
flotilla and the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Finally, a
request was made for information about U.S. policy towards Israel's
blockade of Gaza, which has been found to be a form of "collective
punishment" by various representatives of the United Nations.
 

Fourteen U.S. citizens were part of the flotilla, five of whom were
on the U.S.-registered vessel Challenger I and one of whom was killed
on the Mavi Marmara. U.S. citizens were injured, and their property,
including computers, video and photographic equipment which contain
potential evidence for investigations, was seized and appropriated by
Israel and has not been returned. CCR issued a statement with other
rights groups last month demanding that the U.S. insist that Israel
release seized property forthwith.

Attached Files

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The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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