Rights groups file motion for contempt of High Court decision to overturn Anti-Infiltration Law

High Court of Justice, photo by ActivestillsHigh Court of Justice, photo by Activestills

 

Motion alleges the Population and Immigration Authority is defying the court’s order to release prisoners following the overturning of the Law to Prevent Infiltration.

 

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Refugee Rights Clinic at Tel Aviv University, Hotline for Migrant Workers, and Clinic for Migrants’ Rights at the Academic Center of Law and Business in Ramat Gan, filed a motion for contempt of court this morning (Monday October 28) with the High Court of Justice, seeking an injunction that will force the Population and Immigration Authority and the Attorney General to implement the court’s decision to overturn the “Anti-Infiltration Law” and release the detainees immediately.

 

On September 16 an expanded panel of nine Supreme Court Justices unanimously ruled that the Third Amendment to the Law for the Prevention of Infiltration is unconstitutional and should be overturned. The Court ruled that due to the large number of people being held in custody and the significant humanitarian concerns at issue, the releases were to begin immediately and be completed, at the latest, within 90 days of the ruling.

 

Nevertheless, in the 42 days that have passed since the decision, just a handful of the 1,811 people imprisoned under the law have been released.

 

On October 13, the organizations sent an urgent letter to the Attorney General warning him that the Population and Immigration Authority is defying the court’s decision. One week later, Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber replied, stating that the Attorney General had emphasized to the relevant ministers their obligation to uphold the ruling. Attorney Zilber also confirmed that as of the time of her letter – over a month after the ruling – only nine women had been released, and added that the releases would continue in a gradual manner.

 

“The Population and Immigration Authority believes that it can prevent the release of detainees and fulfill its obligation by releasing only a few prisoners, one by one,” attorneys for the organizations Oded Feller, Anat Ben Dor, Asaf Weizman and Osnat Cohen-Lifshitz claimed in the motion for contempt filed this morning. “This ‘gradual manner’ is tantamount to the continued detainment of most of the detainees and the release of a negligible number relative to the number of people being held.” The motion also alleges that the government is intentionally avoiding releasing the detainees in order to move them into a semi-open detention center it is hoping to complete within the 90 day deadline.

 

Related Materials

Click here to read the motion for contempt of court (in Hebrew).

Click here to read a summary of the ruling translated into English.

Click here to read key excerpts from the petition.

Click here for further information on the law and background of the petition.

Click here to read the letter the rights groups sent to the Attorney General seeking the implementation of the court ruling.

 

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Categories: Citizenship and Residency, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Refugees and Asylum-Seekers

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