British LGBT journalist and activist detained and faces 10 year ban from Israel

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A British LGBT and human rights activist has been detained for hours and told he is banned from returning to Israel for ten years.

PinkNews contributor Gary Spedding began tweeting and updating his Facebook a day ago to say that he had been detained by Israeli Security & Immigration officials at Ben Gurion airport and that he had been taken to a detention centre.

The 23-year-old is a supporter of a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was the president of the Palestine Solidarity Society while studying at Queen’s University, Belfast. He describes himself as a peaceful activist. He also stands up for human rights, including LGBT, across a number of platforms.

He said his phone was taken from him for up to five hours, during which time officials charged it, in order to take more information from it.

Mr Spedding described the time he spent detained as a “nightmare”, describing how he was “intimidated, threatened”, and that he was subjected to several searches including a “body search”.

Dimi Reider, contributor and founding member of +972 Magazine updated his Twitter profile to say that the British Embassy was told that Mr Spedding was deported from Israel for “being active on social media.”

No further details are available from the British Embassy.

Late this afternoon, Mr Spedding updated his Facebook and Twitter to reflect that his flight back to the UK had taken off, and that he was en route back to the UK. Earlier he said he was to be detained for ten days until his return flight.