Osama Qashoo released

(and we have heard Manolo may be on his way back to Italy now)
For Immediate Release:
(June 2, 2010)

After near 70 hours of silence from Osama Qashoo and other activists from the Freedom Flotilla destined to Gaza, Osama managed to contact his parents from Turkey at 3:30 am (8:30pm in New York), the first moment he had access to any means of communication.

The activists were unaware they were on a plane to Turkey, and upon arrival were supremely confused. Osama didn’t know where he had come from and where he had been, said Osama’s father. He asked his family what had happened to him and the other activists as they had not been informed about any events in the outside world, nor of their own status. He stated he was very tired. It is unclear at this point how he will return to his home in London.

Osama’s family is tired and weak, as they were all on hunger strike until they knew that Osama was safe. “We feel immensely relieved to have heard from Osama. We have been living in this horrid uncertainty .We hope to hear more after he gets some much-needed food and rest,” said his brother Mosab in New York. His father in the West Bank said that this whole experience has been “a storm in his head, a big storm”. It appears the storm is clearing.

The family will break their hunger strike at Turkish restaurants in their respective places of residence (New York, West Bank and Saudi Arabia).

The family would like to extend their immense gratitude to all those who have supported them during this trying period.: The folks in London and New York, Adalah in Israel for their incredible legal support, Amnesty International, and of course all the flotilla activists who risked their lives to break the imprisonment of Gaza.

Osama Qashoo began filming when he was in his early twenties in reaction to the events of the Second Intifada. After being given a broken camera from a friend, Qashoo discovered that when he pretended to film street demonstrations and military-enforced curfews, the Israeli soldiers reacted to his camera. It was this experience that led him to believe that filmmaking was a powerful medium for protecting human rights and bringing Palestinian life to an international audience. He graduated from the National Film in Television School in England in 2005, and has screened his work throughout Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. (From Chicago-Palestine Film Festival)

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