Sudanese Refugees Walk for Freedom From Israeli ‘Open Prison’

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Sudanese refugees who left the ‘Holot’ detention facility sleep on the ground at the Be’er Sheva central bus station, December 15, 2013. Temperatures were expected to near freezing overnight. (Photo: Activestills.org)

Sudanese refugees who left the ‘Holot’ detention facility sleep on the ground at the Be’er Sheva central bus station, December 15, 2013. Temperatures were expected to near freezing overnight. (Photo: Activestills.org)

Roughly 150 Sudanese refugees left a new ‘open prison’ and walked six hours to Be’er Sheva in a mass act of civil disobedience protesting their continued detention without trial and demanding recognition as refugees on Sunday.

They set out on a march to Be’er Sheva, more than 50 kilometers (30 miles) away, where they spent the night at the central bus station in freezing wintery conditions. According to law, the detainees must check in with prison authorities three times a day.

The asylum seekers were transferred to the new facility, “Holot,” in recent days in line with a law passed last week. The law is an attempt by legislators to circumvent a High Court ruling, which struck down as unconstitutional a previous law that permitted the indefinite detention of asylum seekers. The new law instead authorizes their indefinite detention in “open” facilities.

Most of the men have already been imprisoned for 18 to 24 months without trial.

“It’s just like a prison, only the doors are open,” a Sudanese asylum seeker at Holot told a representative of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants earlier Sunday.

He explained that the new open-door policy is meaningless when the facility is located in the middle of the desert and there’s nothing outside of the prison’s gates.

“If somebody leaves they surely won’t return,” the Sudanese man added. “It doesn’t really matter because if they catch us they’ll take us back to the previous prison. It doesn’t matter which prison you’re in.”

At 11 p.m. Sunday night the men were at the central bus station in Be’er Sheva, where it appeared they intended to spend the night for lack of better options. Earlier in the evening Immigration Authority officials attempted to convince them to return on buses to the Holot ‘open prison’ but the asylum seekers refused.

Videographer Avi Blecherman was at the central bus station in Be’er Sheva where he was able to conduct the following interviews.

An interview with Mubarak from Darfur at the and of the second day of marching together with 150 refugees from Sudan & Eritrea who were jailed for over two years without a trail because of the Israeli policy of not to examine their real status and not to recorgnize their rights as asylum seekers.

Oren Ziv a www.Activestils.org photographer is marching with the 150 Sudanese refugees who are marching for their freedom after leaving their jail in the southern desert of Israel and are heading to Jerusalem to protest and call for recognition as refugees.

At the end of the second day of the Sudanees refugees heroic March for Freedom we’re meeting with Barak Cohen ‘ a lawyer and a human rights activist.

On Monday morning the refugees continued marching toward Jerusalem in order to protest their continued detention without trial and to demand recognition as refugees.

The refugees are carrying signs in Hebrew and English which read, “you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” “refugees not criminals,” and “we are walking for freedom and human rights.”

The refugees are carrying signs in Hebrew and English which read, “you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” “refugees not criminals,” and “we are walking for freedom and human rights.”

Raw video of Monday mornings March for Freedom and demonstration infront of PM’s office in Jerusalem

Days of walking leads to a Heartbreaking End when the Sudanese Refugee Assylum seekers are re-arrested. Here is a riveting video of the Immigration Police arresting about 200 African asylum-seekers. The commentary is basically in English.  Some of the demonstrators non-violently resisted.  Reports from the scene say that the police used excessive force in making arrests. 

Demonstrator who non-violently resisted arrest being detained near Israel parliament.

Demonstrator who non-violently resisted arrest being detained near Israel parliament.

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Activestills.org
927Mag

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