Salah Hamouri returned to detention until January as persecution of French-Palestinian lawyer continues

The Israeli occupation regime is continuing the persecution of French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri, ordering him back to administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial — at two hearings conducted today, 6 December 2022, where the Israeli interior minister’s order to forcibly deport him to France was considered.

The Committee to Support Salah Hamouri reported that Salah and his lawyers were present at both hearings today and presented their arguments; at this time, the occupation court did not rule on the deportation case. The French consul to Tel Aviv also attended the hearing on the forced deportation order. The next hearing focused on the order to strip his Jerusalem ID — despite the fact that he is an indigenous Palestinian born, raised and living in Jerusalem. Another hearing was ordered for 1 January 2023 on the order to revoke his residency.

Until that time, Salah was ordered once again to administrative detention and returned to Hadarim prison, classified by the Israeli occupation authorities as a “high security detainee” — that is, a Palestinian political prisoner. Throughout the hearings, Salah was handcuffed at the hands and the feet, with both sets of cuffs joined together by a metal chain.

Hamouri is now once again one of approximately 820 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, out of 4,750 total Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli occupation jails. Arbitrary administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and based on a “secret file” denied to both prisoners and their lawyers, and Palestinians are routinely jailed for years at a time under such orders.

This is only the latest incident in the ongoing persecution of Hamouri, a French-Palestinian lawyer who has been repeatedly targeted for administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. He has been jailed arbitrarily since March 2022 and has been fighting the attempt to strip him of his residency rights and deport him from his native Jerusalem since 2021 on the basis of “breach of allegiance” to the colonial occupation, an act constituting a war crime. His wife and children are barred from entering Palestine, forcing him to live apart from his family. He was one of six Palestinian human rights defenders who were proven to be surveilled through the infamous “Pegasus” spyware sold by the NSO group. He was imprisoned for 7 years until his release in 2011, in a case that became well-known, especially in France, as an example of the illegitimacy and injustice of the Israeli system of incarceration.

As France attempts to criminalize the boycott of Israel and ban organizations working for justice in Palestine, such as the Collectif Palestine Vaincra (a member organization of the Samidoun Network), it once again shows its complicity with Israeli apartheid by its near total inaction to uphold the rights of Salah Hamouri despite the positive positions taken by the mobilization of hundreds of associations, parliamentarians and local elected officials. French officials have expressed that Salah should be able to live free with his family in Jerusalem, but France must impose real pressure to defend its citizen’s rights — including imposing sanctions on the Israeli regime, cutting off the arms trade and, practically and immediately, refusing to accept a deportation flight for Salah Hamouri.

Indeed, the spokesperson of French diplomacy faced serious questions from journalists at a press briefing on 5 December, who asked. “What are you doing concretely to prevent Israel from expelling Salah Hamouri, since words are not enough and the intervention of the President of the Republic with the former Prime Minister, Yaïr Lapid, obviously had no effect? Do you envisage sanctions against Israel? Are you asking for the suspension of the cooperation agreement between Israel and the European Union as provided for in the texts when human rights are not respected, as is clearly the case with Salah Hamouri? Or, on the contrary, are you going, once again, to let Israel mock international law and, in this case, France?”

The spokesperson responded that “We made our position clear to the Israeli authorities: Salah Hamouri should not be expelled. He must be able to exercise all his rights and lead a normal life in Jerusalem, his city of birth and residence. Steps were taken very recently with the Israeli government to recall our opposition to the expulsion of our compatriot. Our mobilization continues, as does our assistance for consular protection.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network denounces the attempt to strip Salah Hamouri of his Jerusalemite identity and his Palestinian presence in the land of Palestine. We demand an end to the ongoing imprisonment of Salah Hamouri, the use of administrative detention to target Palestinian leaders and human rights defenders, and the ongoing Israeli ethnic cleansing project in Jerusalem targeting the Palestinian people and identity of the city, the capital of Palestine. We urge all supporters of Palestine to take action to demand the liberation of Salah Hamouri and every Palestinian prisoner jailed in the occupation prisons.