Held aid workers ‘treated like terror suspects
Seven British aid workers held captive on a ship in the Libyan sea have been told they may be treated as “terrorists” when they reach land, sources on board said today.
The volunteers, part of the Road to Hope convoy bringing aid to Gaza, say they were taken by force from Derna Harbour in Libya yesterday after a payment dispute with the ship’s captain.
After more than 24 hours at sea, the captives – who are being held in a small cabin on the ship’s lower deck – arrived in Greek waters this morning, where the ship was boarded by a group of Greek commandos.
It has now anchored at Piraeus, near Athens, but it may be hours before the aid workers can leave the vessel.
Ellie Merton, London liaison for the convoy, said she was “extremely concerned” after receiving SOS messages from those on board the Strofades IV.
“They are being treated like terror suspects by the Greek commandos, who have taken control of the vessel.
“They are not being held at gunpoint as some people are reporting, but there are guns on board and we are extremely concerned.
“I have been sent text messages and Facebook messages from the group and we just want to know what their status is and whether they are going to be safe or not.”
One of the volunteers, Irishman Ken O’Keefe, who was involved in the Mavi Marmara attack earlier this year, wrote on Facebook today: “We are being labelled ‘terrorists’ by the captain on the ship and we are hearing the Greek authorities may treat us as such.
He later added: “There are Greek commandos in a Zodiak following the ship, shades of the Mavi Marmara. The commandos look edgy, spread the word, we want to return to Libya.”