The immigration police arrested and jailed an illegal migrant worker on the day after Christmas
despite their explicit promise not to make arrests during the Christmas holidays, a lawyer for Workers' Hotline charged on Tuesday.
However, Immigration Authority spokeswoman Orbit Friedman said the authority had announced officially and through the media that the arrest moratorium was for December 24 and 25.
Attorney Yuval Livnat wrote to Eliahu Aharoni, deputy commander of the Immigration Authority, demanding the immediate release of Ghanaian Charles Yabua. Yabua was arrested and sent to Maasiyahu Prison on December 26, as he was preparing to have a holiday meal with friends at his home.
Livnat quoted from a letter sent to him by Aharoni in which the deputy head of the Immigration Authority stated that "as soon as the authority was established, it was decided as a matter of policy to refrain from enforcing the law on religious holidays, national holidays, special events such as elections and gatherings including the Christmas period and other holidays mentioned in your letter."
After Yabua's arrest, Livnat said he called Linda Jerbi, who is in charge of complaints from the public for the Immigration Authority. Livnat charged that Jerbi had refused his demand to take action to release Yabua, claiming that Aharoni's promise was "a slip of the tongue."
Livnat told Aharoni that his promise had been an administrative act which must be honored. Therefore, Yabua should be set free immediately.
According to Friedman, there was no room for misunderstanding the fact that the "humanitarian gesture" extended to the workers was for Christmas Eve and Christmas day