July 16, 2013
Letter to Michael Oren regarding Eritrean deportations
A letter of an Eritrean Asylum Seeker Jailed for a Year in Saharonim:
"To achieve a solution or die"
A letter dated July 2nd written by an Eritrean asylum seeker who was forced to stop the hunger strike:
"I appreciate your caring in advance.
There were about 176 Eritrean in ward three. We went on a hunger strike on Sunday 23-06-2013 in the morning and continued until 30-06-2013. On that period, many of us lost their conscious, or became dehydrated. No medical help was offered to all those people, except for few of us who were affected very badly. Speaking on my behalf, due to previous health problems, I was very badly affected by the hunger strike. I was almost in a critical stage. On Monday, 24-06-2013, we were visited by some officers from the immigration authority. Some courageous Eritreans told them:
“We were prosecuted and victimized in our country and we didn’t have democracy. We were not able to live in peace. Many among us were tortured and raped in Sinai. When we reached this democratic state of ISRAEL, we didn’t expect such harsh punishment in prison and we still don’t know which crime it is that makes us suffer for such a long time in this prison. We lost all hope and became frustrated by this situation so that we ask you to either provide us with a solution or send us to our country, no matter what will happen to us, even if we have to endure death penalty by the Eritrean regime".
The immigration officer tried to calm us down and advised us to be patient. They asked us to eat food but we decided to continue the hunger strike till death, for eight days.
On Sunday (30-06-2013) in the morning, while some of us were on beds, exhausted, and others went out to be counted, police officers tied their hand with plastic robber and took them away. We didn’t know where they took them, but we heard later, that 24 of them were taken to the Seventh Ward. The rest of us were taken to Ktsiyot prison. There we were told to go to the office one by one and we were forced to eat by threats to be taken to isolation cells.
Finally I want tell you the hunger strike was very difficult and dangerous for our life. I am a witness that everybody lost any hope and patience. Therefore we chose this difficult decision: to achieve a solution or die.