Palestinian-French lawyer moved to Israeli maximum-security prison

Palestinian-French lawyer moved to Israeli maximum-security prison
3 min read
West Bank
27 July, 2022
"Israeli authorities might decide to deport him to France, which would be a dangerous precedent because no Palestinian has been deported before on the sole basis of "lack of allegiance" without being charged with any accusation," Addameer warned.
Salah Hamouri has been detained without charges since March. [Getty]

Israeli authorities transferred Palestinian-French human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri to the Israeli maximum-security prison of Hadarim while upgrading his status to "sagav" or "highly dangerous".

The news was reported late on Tuesday by the Addameer Prisoner Support Association, which said that the move came as a reaction to Hamouri's letter to the French president Emmanuel Macron on 14 July on Bastille Day.

"Today I am in a Bastille called "Ofer" in the occupied Palestinian Territory, being held for a third time under "administrative detention"," read Hamouri's letter. "Me and my fellow prisoners are subject to military courts similar to those that sentenced General De Gaulle to execution and citizenship revocation."

"Today, I truly believe that I am a fourth- or fifth-class citizen of the French state. This is evident due to the state's consistent negligence and lack of action to end my continued detention, which is taking place without any charges or trial," the letter added.

"Salah received a visit from his lawyer recently and told him that the Israeli authorities had interrogated him after the letter," Milena Ansari from Addameer told The New Arab.

"According to Salah, Israeli interrogators discussed the content of the letter with him, which is why we believe that his latest transfer is a punishment for the letter to the French president," she added.

Hamouri, a Jerusalem native, had been detained multiple times since his teenage by Israeli forces, including serving a seven-year sentence between 2005 and 2012.

Israeli authorities stripped him of his residency in October due to a "lack of allegiance" to the Israeli state. He was subjected to forced house arrest in Kufr Aqab, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, before being taken to prison in March.

Earlier in 2016, Hamouri's wife and French citizen, Elsa Lefort, was banned from entering the country by Israeli authorities, as well as their children.

"Salah's current administrative detention order will expire on 6 September, and nobody knows what will happen next," Ansari noted.

"Israeli authorities might decide to deport him to France, which would be a dangerous precedent because no Palestinian has been deported before on the sole basis of "lack of allegiance" without being charged with any accusation," Ansari warned. "This could open the way to deport more Palestinians from their country without reason."

In April, Hamour sued the Israeli NSO group in a French court for having his phone illegally infiltrated by NSO's Pegasus spyware while on French soil.

In mid-May, Hamouri filed a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel, describing his repeated detentions, interruption of family life and revocation of his residency rights as a "war crime".

In the complaint, filed on his behalf by lawyers from the International Human Rights Federation, Salah urged the ICC to urgently investigate and rule on "Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity".