AG frees Sudanese actor suspected of theft

Asylum seeker, who was arrested last week in accordance with strict regulation, released at attorney general's order. 'Law allows incarceration of innocent people,' says members of organization aiding refugees and migrant workers

Babiker Omar Ibrahim, a Sudanese asylum seeker who was arrested last week on suspicion of stealing a bicycle, was released under the order of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Wednesday.


In a letter to Daphna Lichtman, the head of Lewinsky Garden Library for Refugees and Migrant Workers, the attorney general noted that following an examination of the subject with relevant sources, he decided to release the detainee.


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Ibrahim, who portrays the role of a bike thief in a play about the Sudanese community in Israel, was arrested last Thursday by the police for committing the same crime in reality.


His friends claimed the arrest was a mistake, yet his continued detention was allowed due to a regulation that treats "criminally-involved infiltrators," that allows the prolonged incarceration of infiltrators and asylum seekers based on suspicion alone.


At the beginning of the month, the AG updated the discussed procedure, which now allows the prolonged arrest of asylum seekers and infiltrators from Sudan and Eritrea, even if suspected of relatively minor offenses, and without sufficient evidence to prosecute them.


The change the AG brought forth on the matter allow the arrest of Ibrahim, when before it was only possible to arrest him on basis of national security offenses. Now, it is sufficient for infiltrators and asylum seekers to be suspected of an offense of "harm to public order" – a broad definition, which also refers to minor property offenses – to be arrested without charges pressed against them.


According to police figures, some 500 suspected infiltrators have been arrested as part of the previous procedure in the past year. Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch pointed to additional 1,000 suspects facing imprisonment in accordance with the new regulation.


Ibrahim was cheerful following his release Wednesday night: "I want to thank everyone who supported the fight and my friends from the Lewinsky Garden Library and their campaign. This rough week I had undergone will not make me cease from acting towards bringing Israelis and refugees closer. I wish no one the humiliation, fear and injustice that I went through this past week."


Despite the AG's move to release Ibrahim, some criticized his actions. A source at the Lewinsky Garden Library said, "Ibrahim's arrest demonstrates the absurdity of a criminal procedure to prevent infiltrations that Weinstein himself approved. Without the fight around this story, (Ibrahim) could have been jailed for a minimum of three years. We call on Weinstein to re-examine the criminal procedure in the law to prevent infiltrations and the lenience in which the law allows the incarceration of innocent people."


Ibrahim was not the only one freed Wednesday night. The Justice Ministry also released Amolosom Tlaimont, a foreign citizen accused of rape and acquitted, yet was still detained in the Saharonim detention facility. He was released after the appeal of Chief Public Defender Dr. Yoav Sapir, who turned to AG Weinstein and claimed there is no reason to keep the man in custody.


Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri examined the case and led to Talimont's release. In a letter to Sapir, Raz noted that in Tlaimont's case, in light of his unequivocal acquittal, there was no reason to keep him in custody.


Nizri's letter further added that the AG ordered the police to present him with "any case in which the Immigration Authority seeks to act in accordance to the procedure in the case of a man who is trialed and acquitted, prior to the transfer of his case to the hands of the Immigration Authority."


Aviel Megnazi contributed to this report.



פרסום ראשון: 07.25.13, 08:44
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