Urgent Action Update: PALESTINIAN LAWYER’S DETENTION EXTENDED (Israel/OPT: UA 22.22)
October 31, 2022
French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hammouri remains held without charge or trial in Israel after suspending his 19-day-long hunger strike in protest at the renewal of his administrative detention. The human rights defender has faced persistent harassment by the Israeli authorities since 2002, including action to revoke his Jerusalem residency status and ongoing administrative detention since March 2022. He spent 15 days in solitary confinement in a dirty, small, and windowless cell without contact with the outside world as punishment for going on hunger strike, together with 29 other Palestinian detainees. The Israeli authorities must immediately release Salah Hammouri unless he is promptly charged and ensure that he is allowed to keep his residency status in Jerusalem and continue his human rights work without fear of reprisals.
Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on December 26, 2022.
Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 22.22. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
Minister of Defence, Benny Gantz Ministry of Defence
37 Kaplan Street Hakirya, Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Email: [email protected]
I am writing to express grave concern at the punitive arbitrary detention, without charge or trial, and ongoing harassment of French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hammouri. On 7 March 2022 he was arrested and on 10 March 2022, the Military Commander of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in the occupied West Bank issued a three-month administrative order, extending his detention without charge or trial until 6 June 2022 and without any means to effectively challenge the detention. The detention order was renewed twice since then, most recently on 4 September 2022, merely hours before Salah Hammouri’s expected release, and is now set to expire on 4 December 2022.
During this period, on 26 July 2022 the Israeli Prison Services forcibly transferred Salah Hammouri to Hadarim prison after classifying him as a high-risk security prisoner (also known as “Sagav” in Hebrew). The transfer occurred shortly after he wrote an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, raising concern that he was being punished for his peaceful activism. On 25 September 2022, Salah Hammouri went on hunger strike together with 29 Palestinian administrative detainees to protest Israel’s widespread and systematic use of this cruel and unjust form of detention. As punishment for his hunger strike, on 28 September 2022, he was moved into solitary confinement in a dirty isolation cell measuring only four-square metres, without access to open air or light for 15 days and deprived of any contact with the outside world.
Furthermore, I remain concerned that Salah Hammouri faces a real risk of deportation following Israeli authorities’ actions since September 2020 to revoke his permanent residency status, with his administrative detention order being used against him to expedite actions towards his forcible deportation. According to his lawyer, while Salah Hammouri was in solitary confinement, he was pressured by Israeli prison officials, who told him that if he accepted to leave Jerusalem and go to France, he would be released.
I urge you to immediately release Salah Hammouri and all others who have been placed under administrative detention, unless they are promptly charged with an internationally recognizable crime and tried in proceedings that adhere to international fair trial standards. I urge the authorities to ensure that he is allowed to keep his residency status in Jerusalem and continue with his human rights work without fear of reprisals.