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I light this torch in the memory of 4000 Eritreans who were murdered in Sinai torture camps

On the 69th Independence Day of the State of Israel, Messi, a translator at the Hotline, lit a torch at the alternative torchlight ceremony, in memory of the asylum seekers who were murdered in Sinai, whose tracks were lost, or found dead on their way to seek shelter:

My name is Meseret Fissahaie and I have been working with the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants since 2008. I was born in Israel. My parents are Eritrean origin sailed to Israel after fleeing the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Here, Menahem Begin, prime minister at the time, granted them with status which eventually became citizenship. I was born an Israeli citizen.

As part of my work at the Hotline for refugees and migrants I interviewed and heard the stories of over a thousand asylum seekers who were captured and held in torture camps in the Sinai desert. Many of them last in my memory, and today I wish to tell you about one Eritrean woman and her story which will probably last in your memory as well. She left Eritrea and went to Sudan along with her sister and dreams about a better future. In Sudan they were captured and taken to Sinai. There they were held for three months, enslaved, beaten and raped. “Every time they beat us”, she said, “I asked them to beat me instead of my sister. On April 2012, when the ransom was paid for me and I was released to Israel, all I could think about was who I could get the 40,000$ needed for releasing my sister. I collected donations from family members in Israel and abroad but a wall was built on the border between Egypt and Israel and all we heard was that those who try reaching the border are being sent back to Egypt. On August 2012 I talked to her for the last time. I will never forget this last conversation we had when she was still held captured in the torture camp in Sinai. After that conversation she disappeared and to this day I know nothing about what happened to her.”

On behalf of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, I light this torch in the memory of the missing sister and 4000 Eritreans who were murdered in Sinai torture camps or went missing in Sinai desert in search of their freedom. We also remember those Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers who could no longer stand the Israeli authorities abuse, left Israel, and lost their life in Libya and on their way to Europe.