5 Jun 2010

Henning Mankell on Gaza flotilla attack: 'I think they went out to murder'

The bestselling Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell today accused Israel of murder, piracy and kidnapping after describing how the aid ship he was travelling on was seized by Israeli forces this week.

Mankell, whose detective novels featuring the commissar Kurt Wallander have sold almost 30m copies worldwide, was aboard the Swedish ship Sofia, one of six ships in the flotilla carrying aid to Gaza. The 25-strong crew, including Mankell, were all arrested and held in custody.


Henning Mankell speaks to Kate Connolly Link to this audio

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian in Berlin, Mankell, 62, described the "horrifying moment" when he realised the Israelis had chosen to attack the ships "deep in international waters".

"Our idea had been a non-violent, non-fighting back method. But we soon realised the Israelis had chosen the real, real ugly solution to attack in international water … It was only when I got on my flight home that I realised that people had died in the attack, when the stewardess told me on the plane," he said.

He called on the international community to step up its pressure on Israel to end its blockade of Gaza and said he would like to see an investigation into whether Israel could be prosecuted for its alleged attack on the ships, believing it had set out to deliberately kill protesters. Nine Turkish citizens, one of whom had a US passport, were killed in the attack.

Read the full story on The GuardianHenning Mankell Website