Please scroll down to see the latest update:
From the Afro-Mddle East Centre in Johannesburg: (Please keep Na’eem in your prayers)
At approximately 10H00 today (Tuesday, May 17th) Na’eem Jeenah, the Director of the Afro-Middle East Centre, a research institute dedicated to studying the Middle East and relations between that region and Africa was detained at Ben Gurion airport. Mr Jeenah was scheduled to participate in research meetings.
Four hours later we were informed by the South African ambassador to Israel that the Israeli authorities were holding Mr Jeenah and would deport him to Istanbul this evening. The South African ambassador has been denied access to Mr Jeenah.
At this time (21H00) despite repeated efforts both by the South African ambassador and officials from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Israeli officials refuse to disclose Mr Jeenah’s whereabouts. The Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Dov Segev-Steinberg has also ignored correspondence from South African officials.
We condemn in the strongest terms the outrageous behaviour of the Israeli authorities and have agreed to launch a local and international campaign to demand Mr Jeenah’s release. The AMEC office will keep interested parties updated. For further info contact: Phone: +27 11 782 6754
UPDATE 0n 19 May at 8h40:
The director of the Afro Middle East Centre (AMEC) Na’eem Jeenah has
been deported to Istanbul after ten hours of interrogation. Mr
Jeenah’s passport and all his belongings were not returned. He was
deported late last night and is presently in a holding area at
We call on our government to offer Mr Jeenah full consular support and
to speedily facilitate his safe travel home.
AMEC also, at the very least, demands vigorous condemnation of this
unconscionable act and an official protest to the Israeli government
from our Department of International Relations and Cooperation. Mr
Jeenah’s passport and belongings must be returned to him.
AMEC has received numerous offers of help and messages of concern from
South Africa and beyond. We thank all for their support. AMEC will
post an official statement on their website after Mr Jeenah’s return.
For more information contact:+27 11 782-6754
From Na’eems wife, Melissa on 18 May 2011 (20h30)
Firstly, a big thank you to all of you for your messages of support. It is much appreciated. I have been in contact with Na’eem recently and he is fine and well. There is a process in place to have him returned to South Africa by tomorrow morning, and at this stage there is nothing to suggest that he won’t arrive as expected. The South African government has been part of this process and has also been in contact with Na’eem. Both Na’eem and myself are appreciative to the Dept. of International Relations and Cooperation, the Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim and the Ambassador to Tel Aviv, HE Amb. Ismail Coovadia for their ongoing support.
Naturally, we are looking forward being reunited in the near future.