Israel to free 200 migrants detained at Saharonim Prison

Migrants and rights groups say the migrants are seeking asylum after fleeing war and persecution, but the government maintains that they are "job seekers" and "infiltrators."

By REUTERS
April 15, 2018 14:30
1 minute read.
Israel to free 200 migrants detained at Saharonim Prison

An African migrant holds an Israeli flag after being released from Holot detention centre in Israel's southern Negev desert August 25, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Israel will release about 200 jailed African migrants in the absence of a final deal to deport them and thousands more Eritrean and Sudanese men who entered the country illegally, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

The government has been trying to finalize an agreement with Uganda to take in the migrants, who came into Israel on foot through the Egyptian border over the past decade.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Most of the 200 men set for release were sent to a desert prison in recent months to await deportation to Uganda.

But with negotiations continuing over a deal with Uganda, Israel's Interior Ministry -- which has faced court challenges by rights groups over the detentions -- issued a statement on Sunday saying it would begin releasing the migrants.

The Israeli government says the 37,000 migrants in Israel are job seekers and that it has every right to protect its borders. The migrants and rights groups say they are seeking asylum and are fleeing war and persecution.

About 4,000 migrants have left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda since 2013 under a voluntary program, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under pressure from his right-wing voter base to expel thousands more.

On Friday Uganda acknowledged for the first time that it was in talks to take in some 500 migrants, though it said it would only accept people who left voluntarily and not by forced deportation.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Israel started handing out notices to male migrants from Eritrea and Sudan in January, giving them three months to take the voluntary deal with a plane ticket and $3,500 or risk being thrown in jail until they are deported.

Israel’s Supreme Court, however, has issued temporary injunctions to give more time for petitioners to argue against the plan.

On Tuesday government representatives told the court that an envoy was in an African country finalizing a deportation deal after an arrangement with Rwanda fell through.

Official documents submitted to the court said authorities have identified close to 8,000 Eritrean and Sudanese migrants it would potentially deport under compulsory expulsion.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

RIVKA LAZOVSKY visits a WIZO day-care center on the first day of school.
October 18, 2018
Head of WIZO World Organization: For women, against violence

By OFER LIVNAT/MAARIV