Official Under Fire for Sending Illegal Immigrants to Work in Brother's Shop

A consortium of civil rights groups have asked Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to suspend a top judicial official for what they called a serious breach of conduct with regard to the release of two illegal migrants from Chad.

Yossi Maimon

According to a report published in Friday's Hebrew edition of Haaretz, Yossi Maimon, who heads the custody tribunal at Ketziot prison, released the two immigrants and gave them his brother's phone number to get a job in his brother's car repair shop in Netivot.

In once case, the migrant, his wife and daughter allegedly stayed at the brother's house for a week, and the wife cleaned and cooked. The migrant allegedly worked at the brother's repair shop for three months and was then fired.

Attorneys for The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Hotline for Migrant Workers and Tel Aviv University's refugee rights program wrote Neeman that considering the weight of the accusations, Maimon should not be allowed to use the considerable powers of his position to adjudicate the cases of illegal immigrants at the prison, and he should be immediately suspended pending an investigation.

Another migrant worker was allegedly sent to work in the car repair shop, but when no housing arrangements were found for him, he left.

Maimon said he had spoken to his brother about employing the man with the family out of pity and that his brother had agreed to help. Maimon said the other case had never happened.

The Justice Ministry has reportedly received signed affidavits from the two illegal immigrants, which are now being investigated by the ministry's auditor, Iris Friedman.

The Movement for Quality Government and Ometz, another watchdog group, also wrote to Neeman yesterday and to the Civil Service Commission to investigate the matter.

The attorney for the Movement for Quality Government, Boaz Arad, wrote Neeman and the head of discipline in the Civil Service Commission that all the material regarding Maimon be turned over to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein for examination.

Neeman's office confirmed that it had received the queries and was studying the matter before an opinion is issued by the relevant experts.