An Israeli military court ordered Salah Hamouri to six months imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention on Thursday, 14 September, reinstating the order against him by ultra-right, racist Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman. Hamouri, 32, a French-Palestinian lawyer, human rights defender and former prisoner who works as a field researcher at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, had been sentenced by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court to a three-month sentence, the remainder of his original prison sentence before he was released in 2011 in the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange.
Hamouri was seized by occupation forces from his home in Jerusalem on 23 August 2017 in a pre-dawn raid, only three days after he passed the Palestinian bar exam to become a lawyer. He was shortly thereafter ordered to six months in administrative detention, indefinitely renewable imprisonment without charge or trial. On 5 September, however, rather than confirming the order as written, the court ordered him to serve out the remainder of his sentence from the time of his release in 2011, a three-month period. While this sentence was indeed shorter, his lawyers, family and supporters around the world highlighted that it remained unjust, unaccountable, arbitrary and unacceptable.
However, the Israeli prosecution appealed the sentence, calling for the administrative detention order to be reinstated. On 12 September, a hearing was held on the appeal. While previously the ruling had been announced as delayed, on 14 September, the higher court ruled in favor of the prosecutor’s appeal, ordering Hamouri to administrative detention for six months, an indefinitely-renewable and nearly unchallengeable sentence in the Israeli courts. A new confirmation hearing for the order will take place on 17 September. There are nearly 500 Palestinians held without charge or trial out of nearly 6,200 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails; because these orders can be renewed indefinitely, Palestinians have spent years at a time in administrative detention.
This outrageous decision was met by supporters of Hamouri in France issuing urgent statements and demands that French President Emmanuel Macron take action on the case of Hamouri, a French-Palestinian dual citizen subject to arbitrary imprisonment without charge or trial that is subject to indefinite renewal. This is only the latest in a long campaign of harassment to which Hamouri has been subject; he was banned from the West Bank for several months, preventing him from attending law school classes. His French wife, Elsa Lefort, was denied entry to Palestine while pregnant and is now banned from entering Palestine.
The Association France-Palestine Solidarite wrote, “ENOUGH! How many twists, deferrals, changes in tactics, prisons or tribunals, provisional convictions, new convictions, announcements of release or administrative detention, orders of the Minister of Defense, appeals of the prosecutor, provisional decisions, how many blows to the heart will Salah Hamouri still have to undergo before the President of the Republic realizes that on the other side of the Mediterranean there is a real scandal, a denial of justice, a violation of basic human rights which should have already attracted his attention since 23 August?…Salah Hamouri must not stay one more day in jail; it is your responsibility!”
A number of French parliamentarians, writers, activists and trade unionists have joined in the call for freedom for Salah Hamouri, and dozens of protests have been organized across the country and internationally. Contingents of support for Hamouri have also been part of mass demonstrations against the state of emergency in France and proposed neoliberal, austerity-minded changes to French labor law.
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