Deportation of Migrants: arrest of first seven Eritreans who refuse to leave Israel
Two of them survived torture in the Sinai. Refugees from the Holot detention center launch a hunger strike: "They are throwing our lives away". Israel wants to expel 15-20 thousand refugees, the prisons can only take 1,000.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Seven Eritrean refugees were arrested yesterday for refusing to leave Israel. They are the first to fall under the norm approved last January by the Israeli government, which had warned the tens of thousands of asylum seekers to leave the country by April or face prison. In protest against the arrests, the refugees detained in Holot camp have launched a hunger strike.
The seven Eritreans, summoned for the pre-expulsion interview, were immediately brought to Saharonim prison. Previously, they were held in Holot, a detention facility set up four years ago in the Negev desert to detain asylum seekers. Two of them suffered torture in the Sinai, but none of them were granted political asylum. They will remain in prison indefinitely, unless they change their mind and decide to accept expulsion.
Holot refugees have launched a hunger strike in response to arrests. "Nobody is eating. They tell us it's a sin to throw away the food. ' We say that lives are being thrown away ". Of the 900 asylum seekers held in Holot, 100 have received the expulsion notification.
At present there are about 40 thousand Eritreans and Sudanese in Israel, and about 15-20 thousand risk expulsion. The government claims to want to expel 7,200 a year. For its part, the detention service advises that it has no place to withhold the thousands of applicants who refuse to expulsion warning they have room for a maximum of 1,000 refugees.