Activist: Man deported to Uganda, now to head to Eritrea

Eritrean migrant agreed to be deported from Israel to Uganda awaits deportation to Asmara after detained for not holding proper visa.

June 18, 2013 20:02
1 minute read.
Eritrean migrants: Illustratory

Eritrean migrants living in Tel Aviv 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

An Eritrean who agreed to be deported from Israel to Uganda was deported to Egypt shortly after arriving in the Central African country, and now faces deportation to Eritrea, an activist in touch with the man told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

The migrant, Zeru Tesfamariam, is in the Cairo airport awaiting deportation to Asmara, according to Eritrean-Swedish human rights activist Meron Estefanos.

According to Estefanos, Tesfamariam, was deported from Israel late on Sunday night, and arrived in Uganda at 3 a.m. on Monday. He was again deported the next morning, arriving in Cairo at 9.

Tesfamariam did not answer a phone placed to his mobile number on Tuesday morning.

Estefanos said the Ugandan authorities detained him because he did not have an exit visa from Israel, only a transit visa from Egypt.

Eritrean migrants who return to the country face prosecution for illegally leaving the country and for avoiding military service.

In March, Attorney-General Yehuda-Weinstein announced that he had ordered a stop to all transfers of Eritreans out of Israel from the country's detention facilities until further notice.

The decision was made in response to a report that Tesfamihret Habtemariam, an Eritrean, was taken from a detention center in the south of Israel and flown to Uganda with a stopover in Egypt, and was returned to Cairo from where he was deported to Eritrea.

At the time, an attorney representing the man said the Ugandan authorities had not agreed to accept his client. The asylumseeker, Habtemariam, had been arrested several months earlier under the amendment to the “Infiltrators Law,” and was being held in a detention facility before he was deported.

Estefanos said Habtemariam is still in prison in Eritrea, though the Post could not confirm this.

Earlier this month, a state representative told the High Court that Israel had reached an agreement with a third country to accept Eritreans deported from Israel. The representative did not give details on which country Israel reached the agreement with.

The Population, Immigration, and Borders Authority could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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