Italian flotilla journalist: My credit card was used after IDF confiscated it

Journalist Manolo Luppichini has written Netanyahu, Peres, Barak,
Lieberman and Israel’s ambassador in Italy over the matter.


By
Dimi Reider – Haaretz

An Italian journalist who was detained by
the Israel Defense Forces following the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla
says his credit card was used to purchase items after it was confiscated
by the Israeli authorities.

Israel Navy forces approach one of six ships of an aid flotilla
bound for Gaza on May 31, 2010.

Photo by: Reuters

Manolo Luppichini was aboard the Sfintoni-8000, one of
the smaller boats in the flotilla, when the naval commandos took it
over. "Nobody was killed on our boat," Luppichini said in a telephone
call from Italy. "We tried a little passive resistance around the boat’s
bridge. The soldiers fired paint balls and two people were hurt by stun
[taser] guns."

"Afterward they took my wallet, passport,
bag and all personal effects on the boat," he says.

Luppichini was taken to Ashdod port and then
transferred to a Be’er Sheva prison compound, where he says he received
a form saying his passport had been impounded.

On June 2 he was taken to an Immigration
Authority compound and on the following day was deported. Although he
showed the document proving Israel had confiscated his passport, he says
he was deported without receiving any of his property or identification
papers back.

A few days ago Luppichini discovered that
while he was confined in Be’er Sheva and after he was back in Italy – a
day after his deportation – purchases were made with his credit card,
which the Israeli authorities had confiscated.

One purchase was from a vending machine in
Tel Aviv for about NIS 10 on June 2, he says. Another purchase, for NIS
240, was made in Gedera’s Village Market – while Luppichini himself was
in Bologna, Italy.

"The sums were not large," he says, "among
other things because it’s a rechargeable credit card that had only 80
euros on it. But in principle it’s theft, for all intents and purposes."
Luppichini has written a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
President Shimon Peres, the foreign and defense ministers and to
Israel’s ambassador and consuls in Italy on the matter.

Luppichini says he wants to know who used
his credit card, along with why and how. He is also demanding that all
of his equipment be returned to him immediately.

The IDF spokesman released a statement
saying that the flotilla passengers’ personal belongings had been loaded
onto the Turkish planes on which they were flown out of the country.
All the magnetic media was confiscated for security reasons and the IDF
is considering whether these items will be returned. If a Foreign
Ministry and police inquiry leads to the suspicion that anyone has
stolen Luppichini’s credit card, the matter will be dealt with severely.

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