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Switzerland grants entry to Eritrean asylum seeker fearing detention in Israel

A Swiss court recently permitted an Eritrean asylum seeker to enter Switzerland, in an effort to prevent the man from being held in an Israeli detention center. A three-judge panel of the Swiss Federal Administrative Court

A Swiss court recently permitted an Eritrean asylum seeker to enter Switzerland, in an effort to prevent the man from being held in an Israeli detention center.

A three-judge panel of the Swiss Federal Administrative Court accepted the man’s appeal against a Swiss government decision to keep him out of the country. He appealed after he was ordered to report to the Holot detention center in the south, for an indefinite period.

“The facts of the case lead to the conclusion that the petitioner is in genuine danger of being imprisoned or held indefinitely in what is called an open facility,” the judges ruled.

In his appeal, which he filed with the aid of his sister, who has gained refugee status in Switzerland, he said he feared Israel would deport him to Eritrea, since his Israeli visa was invalidated by the order to report to Holot.

The court said people should generally seek protection from their country of residence, but in exceptional cases when that country cannot provide adequate protection, Switzerland can permit asylum seekers to enter. The court ruled that the Swiss authorities must allow the man entry so as to complete the asylum-seeking process.

“We have to assume in this case that he would be held for an undefined period in Holot,” the ruling said.

“We must treat the petitioner’s detention in a facility that he can only leave with permission, that’s in the middle of the Negev desert, 65 kilometers from the next city and without any possibility of working, as a step of separation and deportation. Beyond that, there is a risk that he would be deported to a third country like Uganda, where it’s not clear what would happen to the petitioner. Under these circumstances, it is not reasonable to expect the petitioner to remain in Israel and seek protection there.”

The Israel Prison Service said Wednesday that about 1,800 asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea are being held at Holot, while an additional 900 are held in Saharonim Prison. Holot can hold up to 3,300 people, but it has not come close to that number since the facility was built about eight months ago. The peak was 2,400 people about two months ago.

There are two wings that are fully built but have yet to open. Hundreds of the people who have been told they must stay in Holot were taken into custody two months ago because they attempted to cross the border into Egypt. Since the facility was opened, about half of the asylum seekers ordered to do so by Israel’s population authority have done so.

Many have chosen to leave Israel and return to their homeland or go to a third country rather than stay in the detention center, and Israel has provided them with a grant of $3,500 each.

Source: Haaretz

Review overview
  • Kombishtato August 28, 2014

    Sixteen Eritrean stowaways found in lorry in Peterborough [United Kingdom]

    August 28, 2014

    Eyewitness James Thorburn said he saw people clambering over the pallets in the lorry.

    Sixteen African stowaways have been found in a lorry which had come from France, at a factory in Peterborough.

    The 11 adults and five teenagers from Eritrea were found at Perkins Engines shortly before 09:30 BST.

    They had entered the country illegally and had been arrested, a Home Office spokesman said.

    The 10 males and six females have been taken to Thorpe Wood police station in Peterborough and will be interviewed by immigration officers.

    Security staff at Perkins were alerted by the lorry driver who told them he believed someone was in the back of his vehicle, a company spokesman said.

    Sixteen people were removed from the vehicle at the Perkins plant

    The lorry contained engine components from a supplier in France, he added.

    James Thorburn, a courier company employee from Raunds in Northamptonshire, witnessed the police opening the back of the lorry as he was completing a delivery at Perkins.

    “I saw the police just inside the lorry, and then there were the poor little stowaways, bless them,” he said.

    “It was dark but I could see them come clambering over the pallets as the police asked them to come forward.

    “I only saw about five or six of them, but one was a little girl who only looked about 13,” Mr Thorburn added.

    Young Eritrean children are abandoning Eritrea in thousands now. It is a normal occurrence to find recent young Eritrean refugee children in Italy, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Great Britain.

  • wedimeriet August 28, 2014

    What a treatment faces a refugee in Israel, I never imagined that Israel was so cruel.

  • Kombishtato August 28, 2014

    Here is a little inspirational diaspora story from our sister Ms. Almaz Gebremedhin. It is a lesson to each of us. What a strong woman. ABC news American tv network:

  • oromay August 28, 2014

    Kombishtato, what is the use of repeating already reported and broadcast news?

  • samsom October 23, 2014

    Iseral is not give them 3500 us d i am on of them it is not turu
    now i am in uganda