African migrants carry their belongings following their release from the Holot detention center in Israel's Negev desert on Tuesday. Menahem Kahana / AFP / Getty Images
Hundreds of African migrants have begun leaving a detention facility in Israel after the country's high court ordered their release.
Israeli law allows migrants to be detained at the Holot facility in the Negev Desert without charge. The high court this month upheld the controversial law, but limited detention time to 12 months, effective Wednesday [Aug. 26].
Some 1,200 people are set to be released from the remote desert holding facility.
Migrants are allowed to leave Holot but must sign in several times a day and sleep there.
This will make it impossible for the men and women to leave the vicinity of the Negev Desert prison, or hold jobs. Another 500 remain at Holot.
Israel's 50,000 African migrants, most from strife-ridden Eritrea and Sudan, say they are fleeing conflict and persecution and are seeking refugee status. Israel says they are economic migrants in search of work.
African migrants – and Ethiopian Jews - say they face huge discrimination in Israel, and held protests against racism, which been handled brutally by police.
- STORY: alaraby.co.uk