African migrants walk in front of the entrance to Holot open detention center in the Negev .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An NGO on Sunday filed a petition with the High Court of Justice asking that 138 migrants be immediately released from the Holot open detention center.
The 138 are part of a specific group who have been in detention either in Holot or in the closed Saharonim detention center since summer 2012.
The nongovernmental organization, the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, hopes that the petition has a chance even though the Knesset is presently considering legislation to address the migrants issue, and the court usually refrains from getting involved with an issue presently before the Knesset.
The Knesset is exploring legislation following the High Court’s striking down of the government’s migrant policies as unconstitutional both in September 2013 and again, after the policy had been modified, last month.
The argument the NGO makes is that even if the Knesset passes a policy that might permit holding some migrants in detention, as the past two policies did, the 138 migrants have been in detention so long that even the maximum detainment of three years in the struckdown 2013 policy will expire later this year.
The NGO hopes to capitalize on some recent wins in lower courts where the state released individual migrants under legal pressure from migrants supporters.