IOPT: Palestinian Lawyer In Arbitrary Detention

Salah Hammouri © Amnesty International
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Salah Hammouri is a French-Palestinian lawyer who lives in the neighbourhood of Kufr Aqab in East Jerusalem. He holds a Jerusalem residency permit and works as a field researcher for Addameer, a legal aid and prisoners’ rights NGO that, together with five other civil society groups, was declared by the Israeli government a “terrorist organization” in October 2021. UN human rights experts condemned this move as a misuse of counterterrorism measures and a “frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere”.

The Israeli authorities have persistently harassed and targeted Salah Hammouri. Since 2000, he has been detained multiple times, including twice when he was placed under administrative detention – for five months in 2004 and for 13 months in 2017.
The Israeli authorities have also violated his rights to freedom of movement and to family. He is also at risk of forcible deportation as the Israeli authorities have taken action to revoke his residency status. On 3 September 2020, the Israeli Ministry of Interior notified Salah Hammouri of its intention to revoke his permanent residency status on the grounds of “breach of allegiance” to the State of Israel. Salah Hammouri awaits a final ruling by the Israeli High Court, after exhausting the appeals process. According to his lawyer, there is concern that this most recent administrative detention order will be used against him to expedite actions towards his forcible deportation. Israel’s discriminatory state policies, regulations and conduct against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories have involved the crime against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer under both the Rome Statute and Apartheid Convention.

In 2021, Salah Hammouri—along with five other Palestinian human rights defenders—was hacked with Pegasus, a spyware developed by Israeli cyber-surveillance company NSO Group.

Under administrative detention, individuals are detained by state authorities without intent to prosecute them in a criminal trial. Orders can be renewed indefinitely and evidence is kept secret, meaning that detainees are not able to effectively challenge their detention and do not know when they will be released. Since 1 January 2022, hundreds of Palestinians held in administrative detention have been boycotting Israeli military courts in protest of their detention without charge or trial. According to his lawyer, Salah Hammouri will be joining the boycott and will not attend hearings at the Israeli military court.

Evidence collected by Amnesty International and other human rights groups over the decades indicates that administrative detention is used as an intentional Israeli policy to detain individuals, including prisoners of conscience held solely for the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association and to punish them for their views and activism challenging the policies of occupation and Israel’s system of apartheid. According to Addameer, as of February 2022, there were 500 people in administrative detention, including one child, held without charge or trial by Israel.

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