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Israel’s Supreme Court Invalidates Law that Allowed Detaining Asylum Seekers without Trial
On Monday, a nine-justice panel of Israel’s Supreme Court struck down an amendment to Israel’s anti-infiltration law, which allowed detaining asylum seekers in custody without trial. The court decided that the amendment contradicted Israel’s basic law of Human Dignity and Liberty.
The law had allowed Israeli police to jail refugees without trial for up to three years, as part of the regime’s crackdown against asylum seekers from Africa.
Following the ruling of the Supreme Court, Israel is expected to release close to 2,000 asylum seekers from Africa who are in jails without trial.
However, things wouldn’t be actually easy, and the court has told the government that each case should be individually reviewed within the next three months.
While supporters of the law hold the law had helped to reduce a flood of refugees from Africa, critics hold the law is against both Israeli and international law.
Most of the jailed Africans are from Eritrea and neighboring nations. Many of them are minors.
The law was struck down after the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees filed an amicus on behalf of the jailed asylum seekers. On the other hands multiple citizen groups filed amici in support of the law.
The flood of asylum seekers from Africa is so great that Israel constructed a large fence on the Egyptian border to prevent infiltration. According to estimates, at least sixty thousand refugees have crossed over through the Sinai Peninsula before the fence was put in place.
While international treaties prevent Israel from deporting asylum seekers without their consent, the government is rarely known to entertain individual applications for asylum and forbids the refugees from working legally in Israel.