A-G: Migrants can be detained for non-violent crime

Crimes such as violation of public order, theft and forgery could lead to special detention of Eritean, Sudanese migrants.

July 4, 2013 04:50
1 minute read.
African migrant walks with suitcase in south TA

African migrant walks with suitcase in south Tel Aviv 370 (R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner )

As part of greater efforts to control what he called the “significant harm to public order from infiltrators,” Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein announced that he had approved the legality of sending Eritrean and Sudanese migrants to detention for even nonviolent crimes.

Until now, the policy was to only detain those who entered the country illegally for violent crimes. Now, even crimes such as violation of public order, theft and forgery could conceivably lead to special detention of the Eritrean and Sudanese migrants who entered the country illegally.

The policy will also allow the state to immediately deport migrants who arrived here from other countries and commit any of the more minor listed crimes, as opposed to having to try them criminally.

Weinstein said the rationale for such deportations – besides violating public order – also included violating any conditions of remaining in Israel (including persons who were given temporary rights to stay.) He said he hoped the new policy would “reduce the significant harm to public order and increase feelings of security” in the areas where significant numbers of migrants live.

Weinstein said the new policy was developed by his deputies, Raz Nizri and Dena Zilber, in conjunction with the Interior Ministry, the Public Security Ministry and the police. He said the Interior and Public Security ministries appealed to him to give them stronger tools for what they characterized as still uncontrollable and undeterred widespread criminal behavior by migrants.

The attorney-general said convicted migrants or migrants with “one-sided evidence,” against them could be sent to detention.

He did not explain the definition of “one-sided evidence,” but said migrants would not be detained before having a chance to defend themselves against the allegations, including appeals to a special detentions court and the administrative courts.

Weinstein did not explicitly define to what extent migrants would be able to challenge their charges and have access to council.

Migrants’ rights groups have regularly complained that the access to counsel for migrants is so narrow and limited as to make it ineffectual.

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