JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the state to close the Holot detention centre for African migrants.
On Tuesday, the court in a 7-2 vote said the open-detention facility in the Negev Desert must be shut down within 90 days. It also struck down a section of the Anti-Infiltration Law passed nine months ago that allows the illegal migrants to be held in closed detention for one year.
The migrants, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, have freedom of movement but must check in three times a day, including for the last time at 10 pm, and remain in the facility overnight. They may not hold jobs. Some 2,300 migrants live in the facility located near the Egyptian border.
According to the 216-page decision, the state must begin relaxing restrictions on the inmates beginning Wednesday, when check-ins will be reduced to twice a day.
More than 40,000 Eritreans and Sudanese are in Israel, most illegally, while nearly 7,000 have left the country since January when the detention center opened.