Israel Preparing to 'Free' Detained African Migrants to Open Camps

The state is prioritizing the asylum requests of vulnerable individuals, such as women, minors and torture victims, deputy AG says.

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The Israeli government is preparing to move detained African migrants to an open camp, following the High Court of Justice's striking down of legislation that allowed them to be detained for up to three years.

Several weeks ago, the High Court ordered authorities to immediately begin examining all asylum requests of the 1,800 African migrants held in detention, and free them all within 90 days.

In response to a query by attorneys Oded Feller, Anat Ben Dor and Asaf Weitzen, Deputy Attorney-General Dina Silber wrote that "If within the 90 days allotted by the High Court to free all detainees, the open camp is completed, and the examination of cases of some detained infiltrators is not concluded, the Interior Ministry plans to free these detainees to the open camp." Silber did not specify where the camp would be located.

Silber added that AG Yehuda Weinstein will insist that the High Court ruling be implemented, stressing that the 90-day limit was the upper threshold for the release of all detainees. Silber further added that "the individual examination of the cases of all detainees has begun, and has been completed in the case of several infiltrators who have already been released."

She went on to note that nine migrants were released on Sunday and that further releases "are expected to constantly continue during the next few weeks."

Silber wrote that "the state is prioritizing the examination of cases of vulnerable individuals – such as women, minors and torture victims."

Archive photo of African migrants held at Saharonim detention center. Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

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