The Observatory has been informed about the prolongation of the arbitrary detention of Mr. Salah Hamouri, a Franco-Palestinian human rights defender and lawyer in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
On June 5, 2022, the administrative detention of Salah Hamouri, who has been arbitrarily detained in Al-Moskobiya detention centre in Jerusalem since March 7, 2022, was extended by three months. The Israeli military justice sent the order directly to his lawyer, without any judgment nor court appearance. Salah Hamouri does not know what he is accused of, as his file is being kept secret.
The Observatory recalls that on March 7, 2022, around 4:45 am, about 25 members of Israeli occupying forces, including special unit forces also known as Al-Mstaribeen unit, broke the door of Salah Hamouri’s apartment in Kufr Aqab, north of Jerusalem, entered into his bedroom and grabbed him from his bed while still sleeping. The forces raided the premises and confiscated three mobile phones and one laptop belonging to Mr. Hamouri. He was then bound with a plastic zip-tie and escorted out. Salah Hamouri was first brought to Ofer prison in Ramallah, and then transferred to Al-Moskobiya detention centre in Jerusalem.
On March 9, 2022, Ofer military court extended Salah Hamouri’s detention for 48 hours on the basis of the Emergency Law of 1945.
On March 10, 2022, the Israeli military commander issued a four-month administrative detention order against Salah Hamouri, which allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.
The Observatory recalls that Salah Hamouri has been harassed for years and has been arbitrarily detained several times by the Israeli authorities because of his peaceful human rights activities. On October 14, 2020, United Nations human rights experts expressed their concerns in a letter to the Israeli authorities about the “misuse of administrative and criminal law proceedings against Mr. Hamouri”. Additionally, Salah Hamouri’s wife, Elsa Lefort, a French national, and their children, have been banned by Israeli authorities from entering Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 2016.
The Observatory further recalls that on June 29, 2021, the Israeli Minister of the Interior, Ayelet Shaked, announced the adoption of recommendations made by the Israeli intelligence services to revoke the permanent residency of Salah Hamouri in Jerusalem based on “breach of allegiance”. On October 18, 2021, the revocation of Mr. Hamouri’s permanent residency became official. Since then, this decision has been challenged by Mr. Hamouri’s lawyer and the case is currently pending before the Israeli Supreme Court. Should this measure be implemented, Salah Hamouri, who was born and has lived in Jerusalem since 1985, would be permanently expelled from his country of origin without being able to return.
The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the ongoing arbitrary detention and judicial and administrative harassment of Salah Hamouri, as well as over the threat of his imminent expulsion from his hometown, as it seems to be only aimed at punishing him for the exercise of his legitimate human rights activities.
The Observatory calls on the Israeli authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Salah Hamouri, to refrain from withdrawing his permanent residence card and to put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial and administrative levels, against him and all other human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The Observatory further calls on the French authorities to urge the authorities of Israel to immediately and unconditionally release Salah Hamouri, to refrain from withdrawing his permanent residence card, ensure Salah Hamouri’s right to travel abroad and return to Israel freely. The French authorities should urge their Israeli counterpart to authorise Salah Hamouri’s wife, Elsa Lefort and their children to freely re-enter Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
How You Can Help
Please write to the authorities of Israel urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and the psychological well-being of Salah Hamouri and all other human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Salah Hamouri, as his detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities;
iii. Refrain from withdrawing Salah Hamouri’s permanent residence card as it would only aim at punishing him for the exercise of his legitimate human rights activities;
iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial and administrative levels, against Salah Hamouri, his family, and all the human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
v. Ensure Salah Hamouri’s right to travel abroad and return to Israel freely; authorise Salah Hamouri’s wife, Elsa Lefort, a French national, and their children to freely re-enter Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
vi. Ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in accordance with international human rights instruments.
Please also write to the authorities of France urging them to:
i. Urge the authorities of Israel authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Salah Hamouri as well as to guarantee his physical integrity and psychological well-being;
ii. Issue public statements condemning the arbitrary detention of Salah Hamouri;
iii. Urge the authorities of Israel to refrain from withdrawing Salah Hamouri’s permanent residence card; ensure Salah Hamouri’s right to travel abroad and return to Israel freely; and authorise Salah Hamouri’s wife, Elsa Lefort, a French national, and their children to freely re-enter Israel and the Occupied Palestinian
Authorities of Israel:
- Mr. Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister of Israel; Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @naftalibennett
- Mr. Benny Gantz, Minister of Defense; Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @gantzbe
- Mr. Yair Lapid, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Ms. Ayelet Shaked, Minister of the Interior; Twitter: @Ayelet__Shaked
- Mr. Gideon Sa’ar, Minister of Justice; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com;Twitter: @gidonsaar
- Mr. Avichai Mandelblit, State Attorney; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- H.E. Ambassador Ms. Meirav Eilon Shahar, Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; Email: email@example.com
- H.E. Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar; Mission of Israel to the European Union and NATO; Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgTerritory.
- Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, Twitter: @EmmanuelMacron
- Ms. Elisabeth Borne, Prime Minister, Twitter: @Elisabeth_Borne
- Ms. Catherine Colonna, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Twitter: @MinColonna
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Israel and France in your respective countries.