African refugees claim poor treatment in Israeli prisons

African asylum seekers complain they are held in cage without food, shelter while waiting for hearings

African refugees claim poor treatment in Israeli prisons

World Bulletin / News Desk

African asylum seekers in Israeli prisons suffer from overcrowded prison cells, a lack of medical care and limited access to legal counsel, an Israeli migrant rights group said Monday. 

In a report on the condition of Israel's detention centers, Hotline for Refugees and Migrants (HRM) questioned the basis for detaining around 5,000 African asylum seekers but called for the Israeli government to improve their conditions as long as they are imprisoned.

The group called on Israel to "stop detaining migrant workers and asylum seekers and to use other means, more humane, useful and economic, in order to control immigration flows."

According to HRM, at one of the most controversial prisons, Saharonim in the Negev desert, asylum seekers awaiting hearings on their status or meetings with lawyers are left in a crowded cage without food or shelter from the weather -- extreme heat in the summer and sandstorms in the winter.

The asylum seekers also claimed that they did not know the purpose of the hearings, as it was not explained to them, and they usually did not receive legal representation.

HRM said it was the only group given access to prisons but had only been able to represent 20 percent of detainees as it has faced increasingly restricted access to prisons in recent years.

The group also claimed that more than 10 prisoners often share a single room and are often not given medical treatment, especially for mental health issues.

Israel has detained thousands of mostly Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers and migrants in recent years, especially in cases where they refuse to be deported.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Şubat 2016, 10:28