South African Police Release Ethiopians with Valid Papers

ADDIS ABEBA – South African police released Ethiopians who have business licenses and residence permits, Ethiopian Embassy in Pretoria said on Tuesday.

Last week, about 600 undocumented “foreign nationals were taken in for processing”, according to South African Police.

The Ethiopian government was quick to confirm that 150 of them are Ethiopian nationals and that it has heard their arrest was in connection with selling counterfeit goods.

The cases of the defendants were heard in a court on Monday. Reports from  Johannesburg say most people were ordered by the court to be taken to a repatriation center and to be deported within 30 days.

People with valid documentation were also sent to a pending verification of their documents by the home affairs department.

During Monday’s court appearance, about 133 Ethiopian nationals have claimed that they showed police valid documentation before their arrest.

They filed a notice of motion in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on August 9, arguing that they had been arrested and detained unlawfully.

The following day, Ethiopian embassy said Ethiopians with valid paper such as residency documents were freed owing to the efforts made in partnership with heads of Ethiopian association and the business community.

The embassy further indicated that it will continue to follow the situation of the remaining Ethiopian prisoners closely, the statement added.

Photo Caption: On Monday about 60 people picketed outside the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court in support of immigrants arrested during police raids last week. (Zoë Postman, GroundUp)