Freedom Flotilla activists deported from Israel, to arrive in Canada today

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $1 per month!

Photo: flickr/Vesselin Kolev

Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Kevin Neish and Robert Lovelace, the two Canadian activists detained in Israel, are flying home today.

Neish and Lovelace were aboard the Marianne av Goteborg of Freedom Flotilla III when Israeli authorities seized it illegally in international waters around 2:00 a.m. Monday.

The pair is scheduled to land at Pearson International Airport in Toronto at 6:55 p.m. today.

"I'm happy they're coming home now," said David Heap, the Canadian spokesperson for Freedom Flotilla III. 

Heap heard of their return home via the Israeli human rights law firm the flotilla employed to help the detained activists.

"They told us last night that [Neish and Lovelace] were scheduled to fly today and they confirmed this morning that they were on the flight [to Toronto]," said Heap.

Neish and Lovelace, as well as Norwegian shipmate Herman Recksten, were transferred from Givon prison in Israel to immigration detention at Ben Gurion airport last night before flying out this morning.

"They're still technically in custody of Israeli authorities until they arrive in Toronto," said Heap. 

He said Neish and Lovelace do not have access to phones or, likely, their own travel documents.

"From my own experience, El Al flight staff will probably escort them to Canadian immigration and hand over the documents there. That's when they'll technically be free," he said. 

According to a press release from Ship to Gaza, seven people remain in custody. Journalists Nadya Kevorkova and Kajsa Ekis Ekman remain separated from the Marianne's crew.

Gabi Lasky, a lawyer that the press release says is working with the detainees, claims the activists want to be deported as a group for "security and well-being."

"Seventy-two hours is a long time to be in prison, but it's much less time than the Swedish prisoners [will have to serve]," said Heap. "Of course, all of this is much, much less than the time that hundreds of Palestinians spend in different kinds of Israeli prisons."

Still detained are Swedish crew members Charlie Andreason, Gustav Bergström, Jonas Kårlin and captain Joel Opperdoes. Swedish musician and activist Dror Feiler is also still detaine as well as Swedish journalist Kajsa Ekis Ekman and Russian journalist Nadya Kevorkova.

Megan Devlin is rabble’s news intern for 2015. She hails from Toronto, but she’s starting her Masters in Journalism in Vancouver. She got her start in journalism working at the Western Gazette where she was a news editor for volume 107 and online associate editor for volume 108.

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.