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American Pastor Arrested, Detained and Beaten in I

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American Pastor Arrested, Detained and Beaten in Israeli Prison

Monday, November 25 2002 @ 08:17 PM GMT

"Hutchins was taken with the others to a military base in the area and were later transported for interrogation to an Israeli settlement .."

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PC) - On November 15, Israeli soldiers arrested Reverend Gordon Hutchins, an American pastor serving the United Methodist Church in Washington State.

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Reverend Gordon Hutchins

during a West Bank march

Hutchins was one of thirty internationals who were staging a peaceful sit-in along with 200 Palestinians in Jayyous, West Bank. The sit-in was in protest of the destruction of Palestinian agricultural land by the Israeli army.

On the morning of November 15 at 7:00 am, the group of Palestinians and international gathered in an effort to protect an olive grove that was scheduled to be uprooted and destroyed by Israeli bulldozers later that morning. Israelis planned to confiscate the orchards in order to build a massive security wall. Internationals waited quietly as the Palestinians conducted their Friday prayers as Israeli soldiers stood by. At 12:30 pm, the soldiers began shooting live ammunition into the crowd and hurled teargas. Many of the Palestinians were severely beaten along with the internationals, many requiring medical treatment following the beating. Nine internationals, including Hutchins, were arrested

Hutchins was taken with the others to a military base in the area and were later transported for interrogation to an Israeli settlement. Following their interrogation, they were thrown in Massyahu prison, in Ramle, West Bank. Hutchins was just able to contact member of the United Methodist Church in Jerusalem, who have reported that Hutchins is suffering food and sleep deprivation in prison. The also reported that he is being beaten by Israeli prison guards.

For the past week, no one from the American Embassy or Consulate has come to visit him in prison to check his well-being, although. internationals from other countries have had the assistance an intervention from their governments

Hutchens’ fate is unclear at the moment, but the United Methodist Church, along with many concerned citizens are calling on the Israeli government to either release him from prison immediately, or to deport him immediately back to the United States. The United Methodist Church of Jerusalem emphasized that food and sleep deprivation, as well as physical abuse are all forms of torture and are in grave breach of international law.

The town of Jayyous has a population of approximately 3,000 people. It lays on approximately 13,000 dunums of land, 600 of which are to be confiscated for the construction of the security wall. Not only will the residents of Jayyous lose the 600 dunums of land, but and additional 9,000 will fall on the other side of the wall, falling into the hands of the Israelis. This land also hosts 7 water wells and over 200 greenhouses. The residents of Jayyous will lose approximately 65,000 work hours per year as a result of the construction of the wall.

-Palestine Chronicle (palestinechronicle.com). Redistributed via Press International News Agency (PINA

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