Prisoner captive jail bars
Prisoner captive jail barsThinkstock

A Nigerian woman and her four children were deported from Israel Sunday night after spending three weeks in an Israeli prison.

The case of the woman, identified as Marcy, who had been in Israel illegally since 2010, gained public attention after her children were brought to prison three weeks ago, after school let out for the summer. The children range in age from two to seven years old.

Marcy had defied several court orders to leave the country. She left on Sunday night after being persuaded by Nigerian diplomats, one who accompanied her on the flight back to Nigeria, Israel’s Channel 10 news that first broke the woman’s story reported Sunday night. Her husband was deported a year ago.

“The long stay of the mother and her children in custody was initiated by the mother, who could have flown to Nigeria many days ago,” Israel’s Immigration and Population Authority told Channel 10 in a statement. “The mother preferred not to cooperate and to stay with her children in prison in order to exert pressure on the decisions of the Israeli courts.”

Marcy wanted to remain in Israel even if it meant being in prison, to get her son medical treatment for what is reported as severe asthma, though reports of his condition have varied.

Two other children also were incarcerated with their mother, a migrant from Ethiopia, in the Givon Prison, Channel 10 reported. They are ages 1 and 3.

Prison staff brought toys, books, and candy for the children to the prison, which is not equipped to handle young children, according to local reports.