The administrative detention order against French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri, ordering him imprisoned without charge or trial for six months, was confirmed on Sunday, 17 September. The confirmation of the order for his imprisonment without charge or trial came after a roller coaster of charges and sentences following his seizure by Israeli occupation forces on 23 August in a pre-dawn raid on his home in Kufr Aqab near Jerusalem.
Occupation forces arrested Hamouri, a field researcher for Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, on 23 August and shortly thereafter, far-right Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered him detained without charge or trial, as protests grew in France to demand the French government pressure the Israeli state to release Hamouri immediately. Hamouri’s wife, Elsa Lefort, was denied entry to Palestine when pregnant with their son last year; she is now banned from Palestine for 10 years by the Israeli occupation. She is the spokesperson for the campaign to free Salah Hamouri in France.
In fact, as Hamouri’s administrative detention order was being confirmed in the Israeli court, Lefort was speaking at the main stage at Fete de l’Humanite in Paris, urging action for Hamouri’s liberation.
Rather then confirming the administrative detention order, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court originally instead imposed a sentence of three months – the remainder of Hamouri’s sentence from 2005, from which he was released in 2011 in the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange. The Israeli prosecution appealed the sentence and on 12 September, Hamouri’s administrative detention order was reimposed.
The indefinitely renewable administrative detention order expires on 22 February 2018. Palestinians have spent years at a time jailed under administrative detention orders, which can be renewed for up to six months at one time. There are currently over 450 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention out of 6,200 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails in total.
“We believe that Salah’s imprisonment is an attempt at punishing him for his activism and human rights work. It represents but one part of the occupation’s continue attempts to stifle the Palestinian people’s legitimate struggle for human rights, autonomy, and basic dignity,” said Addameer, in response to Hamouri’s administrative detention.
On Monday, 18 September, Hamouri’s father, Hassan Hamouri, joined Sahar Francis, executive director of Addameer and the families of other Palestinian prolitical prisoners, including Iman Nafie, the wife of Nael Barghouthi, to speak to Members of European Parliament on a delegation to Palestine.
Amnesty International issued a statement on Salah Hamouri as well denouncing his imprisonment without charge or trial and calling for his release. Magdalena Mughrabi of AI said: “The arbitrary detention of Salah Hammouri is yet another shameful example of the Israeli authorities’ abusive use of administrative detention to detain suspects indefinitely without charge or trial. Rather than locking him up without presenting a shred of evidence against him, the Israeli authorities must either charge him with a genuine criminal offence or order his immediate release.”
Hamouri is an internationally known speaker on Palestinian prisoners and Palestinian rights. He spoke at a number of Belgian university campuses as part of Israeli Apartheid Week in 2017 and has spoken throughout France as well as in the World Social Forum in Brazil on Palestinian prisoners’ struggle for freedom.
On Monday, 18 September, Lefort issued a statement, urging the French government to end its silence and take action, especially after French citizen Loup Bureau was released from Turkish prison and returned to France following French state pressure.
“We affirm, with the support of a multitude of people from all walks of life, that more than ever we intend to make justice and law prevail; that, more than ever, we stand beside Salah Hamouri and his family, who have been so harshly tried; that more than ever we intend to bring about this demand, the correctness of which is indisputable: freedom for Salah Hamouri!”
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network reiterates its urgent demand for the immediate release of Salah Hamouri and all Palestinian prisoners and for the French state to act immediately to defend the rights of their citizen and take action for Salah Hamouri’s freedom. This arduous and endless process of injustice and arbitrary imprisonment without charge or trial is not only an attack on Hamouri, but on all Palestinians who continue to struggle, resist and seek their freedom. This is clearly an attempt on the part of the Israeli state to target an effective, local and international human rights defender working for Palestinian freedom.
The French state must take real action to demand freedom for Salah Hamouri, the Palestinian human rights defender. From the jails and the courts of the occupation to the cities and campuses of the world, he is a consistent and clear voice against oppression and for liberation. Free Salah Hamouri! Libérez Salah Hamouri!
1. SIGN this petition to French president Emanuel Macron and European officials. Demand that they act now to free Hamouri: https://www.change.org/p/emmanuel-macron-demand-the-immediate-release-of-human-rights-defender-salah-hamouri
2. SIGN this French-language petition to the French government to demand they act for Hamouri’s freedom: http://liberezsalahhamouri.wesign.it/fr
3. LIKE AND SHARE the Facebook page for Salah Hamouri, which will be regularly updated with news and actions to demand Salah’s freedom: https://www.facebook.com/freesalahhamouri/
5. DEMAND the Israeli occupation release Salah. Take action in the alert from Addameer: http://addameer.org/news/take-action-demand-israeli-officials-immediately-release-salah-hamouri