Migrants in Malta to be released after controversial detenti

VALLETTA, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Nine Malian migrants are set to be released from detention and deported, Malta Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela announced on Tuesday.

The men have been held in detention for three months pending the arrival of official documents that would allow their deportation to Mali.

A protest against their continued arrest was scheduled to be held Tuesday.

Abela told a press conference the nine men were failed asylum seekers, part of a group of 33 migrants arrested in November pending their deportation to Mali.

The other migrants were released from arrest last year.

The minister said the deportations were part of a wider EU initiative to repatriate migrants from five African countries.

A constitutional case has been filed by a Maltese lawyer challenging the validity of the deportation of these men, who have lived in Malta for between two to eight years.

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