Mutasim Ali Freed from Holot Detention Center

23 July 2015

Following lengthy legal action, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has ordered the release of Mutasim Ali. A Darfuri refugee who has been held at the Holot detention center since May 2014, Ali is a prominent leader in the asylum-seeker community in Israel. This is a major victory for the human rights of refugees in Israel.

Ali requested asylum more than 30 months ago. When the state didn’t respond, he decided to pursue the matter in court, where he was represented by NIF grantee Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. Ultimately, Hotline not only secured Ali’s release, but also forced the government to admit that it had not formulated a policy on Darfuri refugees.

During a recent multi-denominational rabbinical visit to Holot, Ali gave a wonderful speech welcoming them and thanking them for their efforts on his and others’ behalf. He is an eloquent advocate for the cause.

In an interview with Haaretz, Ali said, “They say it’s [Holot] an open facility. It’s not an open facility; it’s a jail, not a refugee camp. They put a person in the desert, in a place he can’t leave … There are no health or education services; it’s forbidden to learn Hebrew. In what refugee camp would they forbid you to learn a language? The aim is to put people there and embitter their lives even more, just so they’ll agree to return [home].”