The administrative detention confirmation hearing for Palestinian-French human rights defender Salah Hamouri, recent law graduate, field researcher at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and re-arrested Palestinian political prisoner, has been delayed until 5 September, and French activists are organizing to demand that the French government put pressure on Israel to release Hamouri.

Hamouri, 32, was ordered on Tuesday, 29 August to six months imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention, only six days after he was seized in a pre-dawn raid on his home in Jerusalem. The order for his imprisonment without charge or trial came directly from ultra-right racist Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, only hours after he had been ordered released by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

Salah Hamouri at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court after his administrative detention order, via Farah Bayadsi

In France, protests by many organizations, including the Association France-Palestine Solidarite, the French Communist Party, Jeunes Communistes, EuroPalestine, Coup Pour Coup 31, local BDS organizations, the New Anticapitalist Party and a number of others have been mobilized to demand Hamouri’s release and real action on the part of the French government.

Photo: Jeunes Communistes, Vienne

Hamouri was seized by Israeli occupation forces who invaded his Jerusalem home on 23 August, only three days after he passed the Palestinian bar examination to begin practice as a lawyer. Jailed by the Israeli occupation from 2005 until his release in the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange in 2011, he has been subject to repeated repression and harassment by the Israeli occupation, including being barred from the West Bank (and his university classes), his pregnant wife being banned from Palestine and now this current administrative detention order.

Photo: Mechkar Elmostafa, Paris, 2 September

In Paris, multiple sizable protests have gathered to demand action on Hamouri’s case. Protests have gathered in cities and towns, including Mitry-Mory, Martigues, Chambery, Ales, Bagneux, Vienne and Metz, while more mobilizations are planned in Toulouse, Avignon and elsewhere in the country. On Tuesday, 5 September, an initial meeting is planned to launch a support committee for Salah Hamouri in Paris. In Gennevilliers, the mayor, Patrice Leclerc has hung a large banner on city hall, calling for freedom for Salah Hamouri and directing people to sign the petition for his release.

Photo: Ville de Gennevilliers

While French president Emmanuel Macron has tweeted from his official account to urge the release of right-wing Venezuelan opposition figures detained by the Venezuelan Bolivarian government of Nicolas Maduro, he has remained silent on French citizen Salah Hamouri, imprisoned without charge or trial by the Israeli occupation.

Photo: Elsa Lefort at Paris demonstration, 31 August

Parliamentarians from France Insoumise , the French Communist Party  and others have demanded Macron and the French government act officially to call for freedom for Salah Hamouri.  While Hamouri has received a consular visit, French official state demands appear to be limited to visitation rights for Hamouri’s family, including his wife, Elsa, who is denied entry to Palestine, rather than his release.

Photo: Martigues, 1 September

Senator Michel Canevet, senator Rachel Mazuir, mayor Jacques Boutault, parliamentarians Ugo Bernalicis and Adrien Quatennens, Member of European Parliament Patrick Le Hyaric, scholar Pascal Boniface, mayor Sylvie Altman and many others have joined the growing number of political figures and parties speaking out across France on the Salah Hamouri case.

The large labor union, la CGT – Federation des services publics, has also spokn out on the case of Salah Hamouri, urging immediate action by the President Emmanuel Macron and the French government to demand Hamouri’s release and expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people.

These actions come, of course, in the context of a French state that has imprisoned Lebanese struggler for Palestine Georges Ibrahim Abdallah for 34 years despite a grossly unfair trial and his eligibility for release since 1999, working hand in hand with Israel and the United States, while pursuing the criminalization of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign for Palestinian human rights in France. Macron himself infamously equated anti-Zionism (opposition to racism) with anti-Semitism (anti-Jewish racism) a week before Hamouri’s seizure at the hands of Israeli occupation forces.

Photo: Bagneux demonstration, 2 September

It is urgent to continue to take action to build the campaign for freedom for Salah Hamouri and all Palestinian prisoners. He is one of nearly 500 Palestinians imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention and nearly 6,200 total Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and Palestinians have spent years at a time jailed with no charge or trial on the basis of an unchallengeable “secret file.” Demand the French government act to defend its citizen from arbitrary and racist imprisonment.

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network reiterates its urgent demand for the immediate release of Salah Hamouri and all Palestinian prisoners and call for the French state to defend the rights of their citizen and take action for Salah Hamouri’s freedom. It is no less critical now; it must be made clear that it is unacceptable to imprison Hamouri – or any other Palestinian – without charge or trial. 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!

TAKE ACTION

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/

4. SEND an individual message to several offices of the French government demanding action. The text below is provided by the Association France-Palestine Solidarite (AFPS).

Write to:
Consulate General of France in Jerusalem by following this link: https://jerusalem.consulfrance.org/Contactez-nous-par-mail

Ministry of Foreign Affairs at this link: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/mentions-legales-infos-pratiques/nous-ecrire/ By filling in the form with the subject line “Français de l’étranger” (French abroad)

Presidency of the Republic: http://www.elysee.fr/ecrire-au-president-de-la-republique/

Monsieur le Consul, 
ou Monsieur le Ministre des affaires étrangères 
ou Monsieur le Président de la République,

Salah Hamouri a été arrêté dans la nuit du 23 août à son domicile de Jérusalem-Est par l’armée d’occupation venue en grand nombre le cueillir dans son sommeil. Comme souvent, les autorités militaires n’ont donné aucun motif à cette arrestation. Il a ensuite été entendu par le tribunal pendant 20 minutes puis placé à l’isolement où il est toujours.

L’arrestation de notre concitoyen est inadmissible et insupportable. Les autorités françaises ne doivent pas laisser passer une telle infamie. C’est un véritable acharnement contre Salah Hamouri qui a déjà passé plus de 7 ans en prison.

Nous demandons à la France d’agir avec conviction pour protéger et obtenir la libération de notre concitoyen qui subit une fois de plus l’arbitraire israélien.

Dans un premier temps, la décision qui devait être rendue dimanche 27 a été reportée de deux jours à la demande de l’armée pour les besoins de « l’enquête ».

Mardi 29, alors que ses avocats négociaient les conditions d’une remise en liberté sous contrôle, un ordre ministériel est arrivé demandant au tribunal de placer Salah en détention administrative pour 6 mois. Le tribunal ayant 48 heures pour confirmer ou contester la décision à savoir jeudi 31 août.

Jeudi 31, les avocats de Salah Hamouri ont obtenu 5 jours de délais, c’est-à-dire jusqu’au mardi 5 septembre pour pouvoir examiner la seule pièce qu’ils puissent obtenir : le PV de l’audition de 20 minutes du 23 août.

Notre inquiétude est vive. Rien ne garantit qu’à cette date notre compatriote retrouve la liberté. Pire encore, il pourrait rejoindre les 6128 prisonniers politiques palestiniens dans les geôles israéliennes, en détention administrative comme 450 d’entre eux (dont plusieurs député-e-s), c’est-à-dire sans procès ni chef d’inculpation.

Je vous demande d’œuvrer dès aujourd’hui, au nom de la France, pour la libération immédiate de Monsieur Salah Hamouri.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l’expression de ma haute considération.

English translation:

Dear Consul, (or the Minister for Foreign Affairs, or the President of the Republic,)

Salah Hamouri was arrested in the night of 23 August at his home in East Jerusalem by the occupation army, who had come to take him in his sleep. As often, the military authorities gave no reason for the arrest. He was then heard by the court for 20 minutes and then placed in solitary confinement where he remains today.

The arrest of our fellow citizen is unacceptable and unbearable. The French authorities must not allow such infamous behavior to pass.

It is a real outrage against Salah Hamouri, who has spent over 7 years in prison. We urge France to act with determination to protect the rights and obtain the release of our fellow citizen who is once again subject to arbitrary Israeli detention.

Initially, the decision to be rendered on Sunday, 27 August, was postponed by two days at the request of the army for the purposes of “interrogation.” On Tuesday, 29 August, after his lawyers negotiated the conditions for his release, a ministerial order was issued demanding that the court place Salah in administrative detention for 6 months. The court had 48 hours to confirm or contest the decision, until Thursday, 31 August. On Thursday, 31 August, Salah Hamouri’s lawyers obtained five days’ postponement, that is until Tuesday, 5 September, to examine the only document they could obtain: the minutes of the 20-minute hearing on 23 August.

Our concern is immense. There is no assurance that our compatriot will regain his freedom. He could join the 6, 128 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, in administrative detention like 450 of them, including several parliamentarians – that is to say, without charge or trial.

I ask you to act today, on behalf of France, for the release of Mr. Salah Hamouri.

Please accept the assurance of my highest consideration.