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Israel detains African migrants in new facility

December 12, 2013

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has begun moving African migrants to a new detention facility, a move criticized by migrant advocates.

Prison services spokeswoman Sivan Weitzman says 480 migrants were transferred Thursday and about 1,000 migrants would be held there by the month’s end.

A law amended in parliament this week reduced the time Israel can detain African migrants without trial from three years to one.

About 53,000 Africans, mostly Sudanese and Eritreans, are in the country. Israel cannot forcibly evict them because of dangers in their home countries. But officials say the migrants are a burden.

Orit Marom, a migrant advocate, says the detentions are a tactic to pressure migrants to volunteer to leave Israel.

The new detention facility partially allows free circulation but requires migrants to report back three times a day.

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