IOPT: Palestinian Lawyer’s Detention Extended

Salah Hammouri ©ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images
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Salah Hammouri (37) is a French-Palestinian lawyer and field researcher who works for Palestinian NGO 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 anti-terrorism legislation and the European Union has indicated that Israel has failed to provide sufficient evidence for this designation.

The Israeli authorities have also violated Salah Hammouri’s rights to freedom of movement and to family. He is 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 serious concern that this most recent renewal of his administrative detention order will be used against him to expedite actions towards his forcible deportation. The Israeli authorities’ decision to revoke his residency status has already had repercussions on Salah Hammouri’s legal status. Both administrative detention orders issued in March and June 2022 have been signed by the Military Commander of the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank, which is the procedure reserved for West Bank ID holders, instead of the Minister of Defense, which is the case for East Jerusalemite ID holders.

This is not the first time the Israeli authorities have targeted Salah Hammouri. Since 2000, he has been detained multiple times, twice placed under administrative detention – for five months in 2004 and for 13 months in 2017. This had a devastating effect on his ability to carry out his human rights work and to lead a normal family life.
On 5 April 2022, Salah Hammouri filed a lawsuit in a French court against Israeli cyber-surveillance company NSO Group for illegally surveillance of his phone. In 2021, Salah Hammouri—along with five other Palestinian human rights defenders—was hacked with Pegasus spyware.

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. According to Addameer, as of May 2022, there were 600 Palestinians held in administrative detention. Since 1 January 2022, nearly all Palestinians held in administrative detention —including Salah Hammouri—have been boycotting Israeli military courts in protest at their detention without charge or trial. These detainees have refused to attend hearings in Israeli military courts.

Israel’s systematic use of administrative detention violates international human rights law and results in arbitrary detention. When prolonged or repeated, it can amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. Amnesty International has also shown that Israel’s use of administrative detention constitutes an inhuman act perpetrated to maintain its system of apartheid over Palestinians, which is a crime against humanity.

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