SA journalist secures local arrest warrant for Israeli commanders


Turkish ship Mavi Marmara docked at Haifa port on August 5, 2010 awaiting to return to Turkey after an Israeli navy raid on May 31, 2010 seized the ship as it attempted to sail to Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid.

JOHANNESBURG – South African police have warrants of arrest issued against four Israeli commanders, who were responsible for the attacks on the Mavi Marmara five years ago.

The four are Rau Aluf Gabriel Ashkenazi, Chief of General Staff; Eliezer Alfred Marom, Naval Forces Commander; Avishay Levi, Head of Airforce intelligence; and
Amos Yadlin, Major General Chief of IDF Military Intelligence.

The Israeli Defence Force attacked the ship, which was part of a flotilla of vessels travelling to Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid and medical supplies in May 2010.

The Israeli attacks led to the deaths of 9 humanitarian activists.

a South African journalist, Gadija Davids, was kidnapped and assaulted off the aid ship before being held against her will in an Israeli prison. 

She laid the first complaint with the SA police in 2011.

A court in Istanbul, Turkey issued arrest warrants against the commanders in 2014.

On Tuesday the SA Directorate of the Priority Crimes Investigation Unit (DPCI) said the commanders would be arrested upon entry into South Africa.

DPCI said an arrest alert notice was circulated to the South African Border Control system in September.

This information was also forwarded to Interpol South Africa to liaise with Interpol Turkey in order for a red alert notice to be issued. If they are arrested, Interpol SA will arrange with Turkish authorities for their extradition.

Attorney Ziyaad Patel, who represented Davids, in conjunction with the Muslim Lawyers Association (MLA) said: “The specialised units of the SAPS (SA Police Service) and the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) must be commended, they have reaffirmed the rule of law and complied with South Africa’s international treaties”.

“They have protected a South African citizen and taken decisive action against the unlawful activities and war crimes committed against Ms Davids.”

“This decision has allowed us to hold these commanders, now fugitives from justice responsible to answer for crimes that were committed in the high seas,” said Davids, who was kidnapped and assaulted before being held against her will in an Israeli prison.

“This important decision will reverberate across Turkey and amongst many other jurisdictions like the UK, Spain, Greece, and Sweden, where citizens of such countries were also victims of this vicious and cowardly attack by the Israeli Defence Force.”