Immigration officers escort African migrant 370 (R).
(photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
The Executive Director of the Hotline for Migrant Workers, Reut Michaeli, said
on Thursday that the state is using the so-called “infiltrators law” as a sort
of administrative detention for illegal migrants who they do not have enough
evidence to convict of crimes.
“What we’re seeing here is that the state
is taking people who they couldn’t prove criminal charges against and so they
use what is in every way an administrative detention,” Michaeli
Administrative detentions are a procedure used by Israeli
authorities in the West Bank, to jail Palestinian security suspects indefinitely
Michaeli’s comment came the day after the Tel Aviv
District Court issued a ruling that sent two Eritrean men into detention
facilities run by immigration authorities after police failed to bring enough
evidence against them to secure a remand extension on rape accusations made
against them last week.
On Monday, the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court
ordered the two men released from police custody, saying the investigation
against the two was insufficient to keep them in custody any longer. Police
immediately appealed the decision and the court agreed to hold another hearing
at the Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday.
Tel Aviv Police spokesman
Moshe Katz said the case against the two men is still open, but that both sides
agreed that the compromise reached Wednesday was the best possible solution at
the time being.
The move could indicate that police were not able to
present enough evidence to secure a further remand extension, which is given by
the court to afford police more time to gather material for an
The January 2012 amendment passed to the Prevention of
Infiltration Law known as “infiltrators law,” allows Israel to jail people
caught illegally crossing Israel’s borders, without trial for up to three
Under Israeli law a foreigner suspected of committing a crime can
be deported. Since Eritreans cannot be sent back to their home country because
they face the threat of persecution upon return, the other option is to turn
them over to the custody of immigration authorities for detention.
reported last Thursday that the previous day the two men lured an Israeli woman
into an abandoned building used by junkies, squatters, and prostitutes on Tel
Aviv’s Hamasger Street. One of the men raped her while the other kept watch,
according to police.
Police said the 39-year-old woman had told them she
had got off a bus near the building and was walking down the street when one of
the men asked her to help with his baby. When they reached the building the two
men dragged her inside, and raped her, police said.
On Wednesday it
emerged that the case fell through because the complainant would not cooperate
with police. According to the defendants’ attorneys, the men paid the woman to
have sex with them.
After the alleged crime was first reported, Interior
Minister Eli Yishai took to the airwaves to say African migrants are as great a
threat as Iran and anti-migrant activists were quick to point to the incident as
an indication of the danger posed by Africans.
“What we’re seeing here is
that the police were very quick to put the cart before the horse with the
charges and when they weren’t able to prove [them] they used an administrative
detention, damaging the rights of the accused,” Michaeli said.