Abu Muailek, Gazan peace activist, denied visa to visit UK

I posted about the case of Mohammed Abu Muailek last year. Muailek was imprisoned when he refused to fire rockets into Israel – after making friends online with a fellow computer programmer from Tel Aviv he had begun to rethink his former enmity towards Israelis.  He was released last October. Now he is being denied entry into Britain in order to speak at a showing of a film about his experience, directed by Paul Martin.  Here is an extract from the JC’s report of how this film came to be made:

Four years ago, Mr Martin shot footage of Mr Abu Muailek preparing a rocket attack against Israel as a member of the Abu Rish Brigade.

A year later, when Mr Martin went back to Gaza to cover the aftermath of Israel’s assault on Hamas, he was sitting in a café when, “I was tapped on the shoulder,” he recalled. “It was Mohammed. I said I’d like to go back to his unit. He said he was not involved. He’d changed his mind and thought firing rockets was counterproductive and wrong.

“He added: ‘I want you to make a film about why it was wrong.’ I asked, wouldn’t that get him into trouble. ‘I’m already in trouble,’ he said.

Later Martin, because he had returned to Gaza in order to offer Muailek his support, was also imprisoned for a time by Hamas.

As Muailek has been offered a prestigious fellowship in South Africa it seems unlikely that he would refuse to leave the country once his engagements come to his end – this is the stated reason for refusing him a visa. I hope that his case will be reconsidered, and that this brave peace activist will have the chance to come to the UK, and share his experiences.

Hat tip: Zkharya