Hundreds of African asylum seekers have been released from the Holot detention centre, in the middle of the Negev desert, southern Israel, after a sentence of the Supreme Court had determined that nobody could be held there for more than a year without undergoing trial. According to the estimations provided by the spokesman of the prison authorities, their number amounts to 750, mostly Sudanese from Darfur and Eritreans, out of 1,178 people who should be released by tonight.

“We have been lucky today, but it is not real fortune – says a migrant – because we have been detained in the centre for 18-20 months. At first the State tells you: ‘You will be sent to a refugee centre when it will be established whether you are refugees or not’. Then, 18 months later: ‘Go away from here’. Where am I supposed to find a job now? I do not know. It is very tough”.

Many of them do not know where to go, since there is a document that forbids them to enter Tel Aviv and Eilatm where there is already a high concentration of illegal immigrants and where their presence causes frequent tensions with the population. After the recent departures towards uncertain destinations, there should be still 550 people left in the Holot centre.

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