Detained Refugees Appeal To Israelis, Rights Groups For Aid
The letter below was written by Eritrean refugees, held in administrative detention in Saharonim prison. Under the Prevention of Infiltration Law, they can be imprisoned for three years or more.
(To whom it may concern):
Subject: The judgement against Eritrean refugees in Israel
As we all know, it has been years since we were compelled to leave our country as a result of a deteriorating economic and political crisis. We came to Israel to escape intolerable levels of repression and human rights violations in our country. However, we are now concerned to learn that the government of Israel is preparing to implement a policy which forces asylum seekers to remain in prison camps for three years, or forcibly return them to their country of origin. We are also psychologically depressed by the prolonged stay in prisons. The reasons for our depression are as follows:
1. Most of us were serving in the army for many years without pay. Many have went through untold suffering in prison centers, have sustained some injuries during the war, and cannot tolerate hardships any longer.
2. Some of us are underage children who fled compulsory military conscription at schools and are displaced accordingly.
3. Some of us are over the military conscription age and were civil servants who refused to be conscripted on account of our age and were accordingly imprisoned or dismissed from jobs. We were forced to leave our country in search of safe have where we would be to take care of our families.