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Israeli Supreme Court Rejected the Request to Delay the Jailing of a Refugee Protest Leader in “Holot”

The Israeli Supreme Court rejected tonight (Thursday) the request for a temporary halt to the jailing in the Holot detention facility of Muatasim Ali, an asylum-seeker from Sudan, until a decision is made regarding his appeal against the decision to jail him. The Court ordered Ali to report to detention on May 5, 2014, while a hearing against the legality of ordering his jailing without a hearing and without explanations will be held later in May.

The administrative petition regarding the illegality to summons to Holot was filed by Muatasim Ali and the ARDC, the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and other NGOS. On March 25, 2014, the district court rejected the petition. An appeal to the Supreme Court was filed this week. The appellants are represented by Adv. Asaf Weitzen of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants.

The appeal stated that the district court did not make a decision on the central question at stake – must the State hold a hearing and provide explanations to an administrative decision that sends a person to indefinite detention in Holot without him being accused of any crime. In addition, the appeal stated that the lower court did not take into account Muatasim’s special circumstances – the fact that he’s one of the leaders of the refugee protest movement and that he was recognized as a refugee by the UNHCR, while the Israeli Ministry of Interior has refused to examine his asylum claim for over a year now.

Muatasim Ali responded to the verdict: “Unfortunately, I was not surprised by the decision. I know that the policy of the government is to place Eritreans and Sudanese in prison, but it’s not fair that they send people to prison and don’t allow them to present their claims. Our problem is not just with Holot, but with the entire policy of the State toward refugees. I will accept what the court decides, but I still have hope that things will change.”

Adv. Asaf Weitzen: “The court decided to first send Muatasim to Holot, and only later find out whether sending him there without a hearing or an explanation is legal or not. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision omitted any reference to the asylum claim filed by Muatasim over a year ago. The decision also fails to mentions the fact that the UNHCR recognized him as a refugee and emphasized his importance to the refugee community in Israel. Muatasim, who is a refugee from Darfur and a noble person, deserved more than what the Supreme Court gave him at this juncture. I still hope and believe that this is not the final decision and that things will clear up in the hearing that will be held soon at the Supreme Court”.