sraeli authorities were expected Tuesday to release Sadiq al-Sadiq, the Sudanese asylum seeker who agreed to leave Israel for a third country in Africa, found himself in Addis Ababa on the verge of being deported to Sudan, and was eventually brought back to Israel against his will.

The state argued that he had agreed to return to his native country, but Sadiq insists that he had only expressed willingness to go to a third country. After he was brought back to Israel nine months ago, he was sent to the Holot detention center where he has been held ever since.

Three months ago the Tel Aviv District Court dismissed Sadiq's petition to be released from Holot, but at the same time criticized the way he was treated by the Interior Ministry's Population, Border and Immigration Authority.

Sadiq appealed the decision to the Supreme Court with the help of attorneys Asaf Weitzen and Rachel Friedman of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. The appeal stated that he was sent abroad even though he had never gotten a response to his request to receive asylum here. It also argued that he cannot be regarded as an infiltrator, since he returned to Israel through a regular border crossing after having left the country legally.

On Monday the Supreme Court held a hearing on Sadiq's appeal and criticized the state’s behavior. “The picture is pretty awful,” said Justice Uzi Vogelman, who addressed that fact that the asylum seeker was nearly sent back to Sudan. “A situation where someone submits an asylum request and he gets sent to Khartoum is a situation I have yet to see,” he added.

The court ordered the state, which at first refused to free Sadiq from Holot, to release him.

'Struggle isn't over'

Sadiq, who is from the Darfur region of Sudan, entered Israel six years ago. In his appeal he stated that his Sudanese passport was taken from him when he entered Israel and he was held for two months in Saharonim Prison. In 2010 he tried to file a request for asylum in Israel, but the Interior Ministry refused his application. In September 2013, he filed an asylum application, but he has yet to receive an answer, even though a year and a half has passed. Last week, Haaretz reported that Israel hasn't been responding to asylum requests from Darfuris.

For five years Sadiq lived and worked in Tel Aviv, and renewed his temporary residence permit on regularly. When he sought to do so again in March 2014, he received a summons to the Holot detention center. Not wanting to end up in jail, he agreed to leave Israel for a third country. The Population and Immigration Authority refused to tell him which country he would be sent to, but promised he would not be sent to Sudan, said Sadiq. He said that since he did not have a passport in his possession, the Authority provided him with a passport of another Sudanese citizen.

At the end of April last year, officials from the Immigration Authority accompanied him to a plane that left from Ben-Gurion Airport and landed in Addis Ababa. On arrival in Ethiopia, he asked to leave the airport, he says, but the Ethiopian authorities at the airport prevented him from leaving. They told him he must take a flight on to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, within a few hours; his luggage would be waiting for him there. Sadiq told the Ethiopian officials he could not return to Sudan out of fear for his life, and made contact with UN representatives, who promised to help him, he said.

The Supreme Court judges noted that Sadiq had made it clear that he was not interested in returning to Israel, since he did not want to be locked up, and since the Holot detention center is similar to a prison in his eyes. "The plaintiff spent almost nine days in the terminal, without the ability to change clothes or shower, and he slept on the seats for those waiting for flights. A large part of his money was stolen there along with his passport (which was not his) that a representative of [the state] provided him," said the court. In the end he was deported back to Israel and sent immediately to Holot.

“I’m very happy to be freed, but also sad to leave all my friends behind still jailed in Holot,” Sadiq said. “The struggle is not over and I hope that a just decision will be made for them as well.”