Maine filmmaker detained after Israeli raid

Posted June 01, 2010, at 9:31 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine filmmaker hired to document aid vessels defying Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip is among those detained for deportation from Israel, his father and girlfriend said Tuesday.

Scott Hamann, 29, of South Portland, was aboard a ship that was part of a flotilla attacked Monday by commandos, leaving nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.

Hamann’s live-in girlfriend, 22-year-old Charlotte Stuart, said she got a call Tuesday from the State Department saying Hamann was being held at a detention center and will be deported.

“He was complaining of a toe injury because a grenade landed near his foot, but other than that he was fine,” Stuart said. She didn’t know whether the grenade exploded.

Hamann, who owns a company called Harbor Light Films, was hired by a David Rubinson, an American expatriate living in France, to document the Free Gaza flotilla, according to his father, Moe Hamann, of Nashua, N.H.

The flotilla tried to take supplies to Gaza, which Israel has blockaded for three years with the aim of keeping Iranian-backed Hamas from building its arsenal of weapons. But the blockade has also deepened the poverty of the 1.5 million Palestinians in the strip.

Hamann’s job was to film the goings-on and upload footage to http://www.witnessgaza.com, Stuart said. He was aboard the Challenger I, an American-flagged vessel, but it was a Turkish-flagged ship where most of the violence took place, she said.

Hamann was documenting the event as a job but also felt strongly about the purpose of the flotilla, she said.

“He definitely had some passion for the cause, but he wasn’t as hard-core as most of the people on the boat,” she said.

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