Israeli soldier used stun gun on photographer during flotilla attack

Australian photographer Kate Geraghty was tasered on the arm by Israeli soldiers who stormed a flotilla of boats heading to Gaza, a fellow passenger claims.

June 2, 2010 /PN/ Fairfax photographer Kate Geraghty told Australian Consular officials yesterday that she was hit in the upper arm with what she thought might have been a stun gun when Israeli forces boarded the boat she was traveling on as part of a flotilla headed to Gaza. Geraghty also spoke to the Herald, saying she had been ''Tasered'' by the Israelis. ''It hurt and it made me feel sick.''

She sustained bruises, minor burns and nausea, but reported that she had been seen by a doctor after being taken to Israel and was otherwise in good health.

Her account was backed by the first mate on the vessel, Irishman Shane Dillon, who told The Age from Dublin that ''she got a blast across the arm'' when the Israelis approached her.

''She was just doing her journalistic duties … She advised them she was a bona fide photographer … She was just attacked,'' he said.

Huwaida Arraf, a US/Israeli citizen who was aboard the U.S.-flagged vessel Challenger 1 along with Geraghty, told ABC Radio 702 that once the commandos boarded the vessel, one of their first acts was to seize all communication equipment, cameras and memory cards.

"I did not see her being Tasered but when we were all gathered into a room when they had subdued all of us and taken over the boat, she did show us her wound on her arm and she said that she wasn't feeling well and that she was hurt, but I didn't see the actual Tasering and how she reacted to it," Arraf added.

Geraghty was questioned by the Israelis and asked if she knew she had entered a combat zone and told that she faced either immediate deportation or detention. Geraghty said she was an accredited journalist and those rules should not apply. A letter sent on May 24 by the Herald's editor, Peter Fray, to Israeli authorities called for both journalists to be given safe passage if captured.

''In the event that Israel apprehends the vessel on which they are travelling, I urge you to allow McGeough and Geraghty the freedom to pursue their journalistic duty …''

The Israeli ambassador, Yuval Rotem, confirmed the letter was received before the flotilla sailed.

Geraghty was given a receipt for her belongings and said that she had been filmed and photographed in her cell. When she asked why she was being filmed, she was told she was being filmed by ''something that sounded like the Shabat'', probably a reference to the Shabak, Israel's domestic security agency.

Fairfax is yet to confirm that Geraghty was Tasered during the ambush, but a spokesman for the media group said a statement is expected to be issued later today.

Press freedom advocacy organisations have continued to express concern at Israel’s actions since the start of the week, which have seen journalists from multiple countries placed in detention facilities.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) said that over sixty journalists had been travelling among the flotilla’s vessels, with a large number of them still being held.

Another group, the International Press Institute (IPI), urged Israel to respect journalists’ right to report, saying that a failure to do so “could send the message that the Israeli government has something to hide”.

Diana Topan


  1. Anonymous says

    liar liar pants on fire. bunch of terrorists on that ship. I hope al your countries will be flooded by terrorist blowing up on buses and missiles landing on your childrens kindergardens. Teach you a lesson about the real face of Islam and Palestinians.

    Daniel says

    Lol, Anonymous! I guess you are just a frustrated Israeli who can't cope with the fact that the entire world is finding out the truth.

    Anonymous says

    Islam is facing similar kind of intolerance like the jewish people in the 30's. It was wrong then and it's wrong now!

    J says

    Why, oh why, does Israel insist, no, demanding on turning moderate views against itself?
    This will all finish so badly- Israel seems to believe that it is against all judgment or international law- piracy, ignoring UN judgments, suppressing journalists...
    Constructing the largest illegal prison since the 40's, refusing aid...
    It is a terrible situation, and needs to be corrected by Israels moderates- as this will not be allowed to continue otherwise.

    Anonymous says

    "something that sounds like shabat" Hilarious. Some journalist you are.
    Play with the bull, get the horns. this was a clear propaganda provocation by a terrorist organization.
    Anywhere else in the world they would all be in prison for years. If not hit by a direct missile to the ship.

    Anonymous says

    What's with the alarming false headline? it has NOT been established, even by the victim!
    Stay professional, report the truth.

    Taghioff says

    Hello anonymous.

    Israel has committed Piracy, has illegal nuclear weapons, and is considered a rogue state by the majority of the international community.

    Is that what you mean by truth?

    Dimitri Dato says

    Anonymous, read it once again. Geraghty said she'd been told she was being filmed by ''something that sounded like the Shabat''. Her words.

    Now tell me, as an Australian photographer in mission on an aid ship, was she supposed to know what Shabak is?

    Anonymous says

    1st: Wrong. Illegal under what law? Israeli has never signed or agreed on the NPT.
    2. majority? absolutely not. a few muslim countries are hardly a majority in this world. the rest support it and its action, politically, financially, economically etc... Wake up and smell the hummus!

    What's there to read again? Absolutely, if you're a journalist and you're going to cover a story, you need to do some basic research, especially about the people you are going to be inevitably arrested by!

    kate geraghty says

    first of all I was hit by a stungun-taser and did not say that i thought i was being filmed, i was filmed inside the detention centre in Israel and i did not say "something that sounded like Shabat" i do not know where you are getting your information from but it completely incorrect. We were covering the flotilla as professional journalists and did do our research as we do for every assignemnt.

    linda robinson says

    how are you kate?

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