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Gaza activist on speaking tour in France detained, awaiting deportation

Courtesy: Dawn News/Reuters

Palestinian activist Mariam Abudaqa, who came to France for a speaking tour in September, was taken into custody on Wednesday night in Paris after a court approved her deportation, her lawyer said.

Wednesday’s ruling by the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest administrative court, said 72-year-old Abudaqa, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was “likely to seriously disturb public order”.

Abudaqa, who had been put under house arrest for four days in October, had said she planned to leave Paris for Egypt on Saturday.

She is currently being held in a police station in Paris, her lawyer said. Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The French government has cracked down on expressions of solidarity with Palestine in the wake of the Hamas’ Oct 7 attack on Israel. Some protests have been banned and events cancelled, and French authorities have accused some pro-Palestine groups of condoning terrorism.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza by Israel’s retaliatory assault on the enclave, according to health officials.

Abudaqa said she had lost 30 members of her family since the beginning of the war.

“We are supposed to die without even saying ouch, without expressing pain,” Abudaqa said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The anti-occupation and women’s rights activist had been invited to speak at the French national assembly at an event on Thursday, but her participation was blocked in October by the Assembly president.

The Conseil d’Etat based its ruling on Abudaqa’s membership of the PFLP, stating that she occupies a “leadership” position.

The PFLP is the second largest faction in the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), which is recognised by the UN and Israel, but is blacklisted by the EU.

Pierre Stambul, an activist with the Union of French Jews for Peace which supported Abudaqa’s challenge in court, said she hadn’t held a senior position in the group for more than twenty years.

The decision is a “continuation of the criminalisation of the Palestinian population”, he said.

Mark Warner@MAAWLAW
“”We are supposed to die without even saying ouch, without expressing pain,’ [Mariam Abudaqa, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said] of her arrest and speaking ban… before the [#France’s Conseil d’Etat] decision came.”
The interior minister’s office did not respond for comment.

Abudaqa said she has trouble sleeping as Israeli strikes on Gaza continue and has become scared of checking her phone, for fear of more bad news.

“Death is much easier than staying here, while my heart aches for them. Or having to receive news every day of one of them dying,” she said.

1- Header image: Mariam Abudaqa, a Palestinian political activist in Gaza and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, attends a news conference in Paris, France, November 7, 2023. — Reuters

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