LHR to challenge legality of Operation Fiela

LHR says the operation contains elements which violates people’s right to privacy.

FILE: Army vehicles line a street in Ottery after the completion of a Fiela Operation raid on 22 May 2015. Picture: Thomas Holders/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) will approach the High Court in Pretoria today to challenge the legality of Operation Fiela.

The anti-crime operation was launched after xenophobic attacks erupted earlier this year, but the initiative has come in for some criticism with some labelling it anti-immigrant.

Last month LHR filed an urgent court application seeking access to foreigners who were arrested.

The organisation's David Cote said, "What we're concerned about is that the Constitution provides the right to privacy which includes not having your home searched and if the police wish to do this, it's our view that they must get a warrant to do so."

The controversial joint operation between the police, the army and the Home Affairs Department has been the most successful operation in the seizing of criminal elements from known hotspots.

Of the 12,171 suspects arrested, 223 were arrested for murder while 169 were arrested for rape, all of whom appeared in courts across the province.

Illegal firearms and goods including drugs were also seized during the operations.