Detained Nobel Laureate Takes Case to Supreme Court

Mairead Corrigan Maguire says she was mislead into signing agreement not to enter Israel for 10 years.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire petitioned the Supreme Court against an order barring her from Israel, and the court has decided to hear the petition today.

The Irish Nobel laureate signed an agreement not to enter Israel for 10 years after she took part in a protest sail aboard the Rachel Corrie, which was attempting to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza by sea. The ship was intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces.

Nir Keidar - Nir Keidar - June, 2010
Nir Keidar

Maguire says she was mislead into signing the agreement.

Maguire and U.S. Nobel laureate Judy Williams landed in Ben-Gurion International Airport on Tuesday in order to meet with Israeli and Palestinian women's groups. Authorities said this was a violation of Maguire's agreement, and ordered her deported.

Maguire initially appealed to the Petah Tikva District Court, which upheld the decision to deport her.

Government officials said Maguire had not challenged the legality of the agreement she signed in June.

However, her lawyers, who are from Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said she was unaware she had signed an expulsion order in June and was not provided a copy.

They also said she was told that if she signed a waiver of her right to petition the courts, she would not be handed an expulsion order and would not face criminal charges, and she could return to Israel in the future.

Maguire also has argued that she did not enter Israel voluntarily in June, since she was on a Gaza-bound ship that was towed to Israel from international waters.

In Maguire's Supreme Court appeal, her lawyers stated that the district court decision was based on procedural grounds and did not address the human rights issue or the public interest.