The procedure was altered at the beginning of July. Before that, regulations set by the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration determined that infiltrators and asylum seekers can only be detained if they commit crimes that pose a threat to State security or public safety.
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As of now, Eritrean and Sudanese migrants can be held in detention facilities for an extended period of time if they commit a felony which "substantially compromises public order" – a broad and vague definition which can also include minor property crime.
Migrants in southern Tel Aviv (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
As a result, migrants who are suspected of stealing mobile phone or bicycle can be held in detention for a long period of time.
"This procedure tramples basic human rights, including freedom and equality, presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial," the judges' letter stated.
By infringing on the aforementioned rights, the judges and academics insisted, "the procedure undermines the constitutional protection granted by the Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty, which is not limited to citizens and residents, but must also be given to every person, including anyone who enters the country illegally.
"This procedure does not only promote deportation but also completely deprives people of their freedom."
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