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Deportation of foreign nationals halted

This will allow human rights lawyers to consult with those arrested in the joint police and army raids.

FILE: SA army and police raided on a buildings around Johannesburg CBD on 8 May 2015 as part of their operation to search for illegal goods, weapons and drugs. Picture: Nyasha Mharakurwa ‏@sirnyasha.

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Johannesburg has ordered the immediate halt of the deportation of more than 200 illegal immigrants to allow lawyers for human rights to consult with those arrested in the joint police and army raids.

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) brought an urgent application to the court today but the matter was settled after discussion with state lawyers.

The human rights group was earlier attempting to settle the urgent court application.

The organistation met with lawyers from the state and demanded consultation with the foreign nationals who are still being held at the central police station.

The illegal immigrants were arrested during raids by the police service, South African National Defence Force and officials from the Department Home Affairs in the Johannesburg CBD.

The raids also included the Central Methodist Church and have come under sharp criticism from non-government organisation Right2Know, which has described the raids as state co-ordinated xenophobia.

The raids form part Operation Fiela which government says is aimed at ridding the country of illegal guns drugs and prostitution rings.

The LHR says it wants to ensure asylum seekers from war-torn countries are not deported with the group.

It says it also wants probe claims of human rights abuses during the raid but police deny this happened.

So far, more than 700 people have been arrested during various raids, and this has drawn criticism from a number of NGOs.

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