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North Wales man arrested by Israeli police in West Bank PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 23 October 2008 00:55
An environmental consultant from North Wales was seized by Israeli police and thrown into prison as he photographed a disturbance in a West Bank flashpoint.

Nick Marcroft, 33, of Bethesda, claims he was assaulted by police and roughly treated as a rally near Bethlehem turned violent.

He was held in prison for three days on what he says is a trumped-up charge of assaulting a police officer.

Last night Mr Marcroft, who has just been released on bail from Israel’s Russian Compound prison, spoke exclusively to the Daily Post by telephone from the Middle East.

He says he fears he may now be thrown out of the country, wrecking a project he is undertaking to treat polluted water running through Palestinian areas.

The former Bangor University student was touring a stagnant maggot-riddled wadi (river bed) in disputed territory when he and five others were arrested. They have also now been released but Mr Marcroft must appear again before a court later this week.

Trouble broke out when Jewish settlers staged a rally in Beit Sahour outside Bethlehem and this coincided with Palestinians and several people from abroad, including Mr Marcroft, taking part in a nature walk.

A skirmish ensued between the rival factions.

Mr Marcroft tried to take photographs and was immediately set upon by Israeli police and border guards.

A video posted on YouTube appears to show a uniformed Israeli officer attacking Mr Marcroft and the others for taking pictures from the sidelines.

Speaking from Bethlehem last night Mr Marcroft said: “We were walking in the valley below the old military base when settlers arrived, flanked by IDF soldiers, police and border guards.

“I was taking photos of the clash between soldiers and internationals when an officer assaulted me and wrestled me to the ground. He accused me of assaulting him and I was put in jail for three days and suffered bruising.

“I’m so worried I will be deported because I’ve overstayed my visa. I’ve done environmental work here for the last nine months.”

Mr Marcroft did not wish to say any more about his ordeal due to the ongoing court case.

He is employed to organise environmental activities in Beit Sahour.

He added: “There is plenty of work to be done on the stagnant water and maggots but because of the political situation, there are a lot of problems with development here.”

Last night Mr Marcroft’s ex-partner and good friend, Linzi Hanscombe from Bethesda, spoke of her fears for him and the work he has done: “Nick has done a lot of environmental work in Palestine improving the standard of living through ecological awareness.

“The political situation over there makes things extremely difficult and now we are worried that he could be deported.”

Yesterday Mr Marcroft’s friends in North Wales said they were worried about the forthcoming court case.

They claim Israeli troops attacked the “peaceful, unarmed” group who they claim suffered physical abuse at the hands of the soldiers.

Roger Hughes from Conwy, a friend of Mr Marcroft’s for eight years, added: “It was really upsetting to see the footage of Nick being physically confronted.”

source: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2008/10/21/assaulted-seized-and-thrown-into-prison-for-3-days-55578-22077272/

Last Updated on Friday, 28 November 2008 03:08



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