Israel/OPT: Judicial harassment against Mr. Salah Hamouri

07/09/2020
Urgent Appeal

New information
ISR 001 / 0720 / OBS 076.2
Judicial harassment
Israel / Occupied Palestinian Territory
September 7, 2020

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your intervention in the following situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the judicial harassment against Mr. Salah Hamouri, a Franco-Palestinian lawyer who works with Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer)[1] in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

According to the information received, on September 3, 2020, Mr. Salah Hamouri was summoned to the Moskobiyeh interrogation centre in Jerusalem, where he was given a letter from Mr. Aryé Deri, Israeli Minister of the Interior, informing him of his intention to withdraw Mr. Hamouri’s permanent residence card in Jerusalem. In his letter, the Minister of the Interior justifies this withdrawal by claiming that Mr. Hamouri is still implementing hostile activities against the state of Israel. If this measure was implemented, it would mean that Mr. Salah Hamouri, who was born and has lived in Jerusalem since 1985, would be permanently expelled from his country of origin without being able to return.

This decision is based on article 11 a) of the Entry into Israel Law of 1952, which allows Israeli authorities to decide whether or not Palestinians of Jerusalem can live in their homeland. This law violates international humanitarian law, in particular article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war of August 12, 1949, which states that “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive”.

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Salah Hamouri has been harassed for years and was arbitrarily detained several times by Israeli’s authorities because of his peaceful human rights activities (see background information).

The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the threat of expulsion of Mr. Salah Hamouri from his hometown of Jerusalem as it seems to be only aimed at punishing him for the exercise of his legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory calls on the Israeli’s authorities to refrain from withdrawing Mr. Salah Hamouri’s permanent residence card and to put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him and all other human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Background information:

On March 13, 2005, Mr. Salah Hamouri was arrested by the Israeli military at Qalqiliya checkpoint and sentenced to seven years in prison for his alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the religious and ultra-orthodox party Shas, and former Chief Rabbi of Israel. Mr. Salah Hamouri was to be released on March 13, 2012, but instead, was set free on December 18, 2011, as part of the Wafa Al Ahrar prisoner exchange deal[2] .

Subsequent to his re-arrest on August 23, 2017, on August 29, 2017, the Jerusalem Magistrate Court ordered his conditional release and his placement under house arrest in Al-Reineh for 20 days. The Court also banned Mr. Salah Hamouri from entering Jerusalem, from travelling outside the country for three months and ordered a 10,000 NIS (approx. 2642 Euros) bail.

However, when Mr. Salah Hamouri’s family went to pay the bail, they were told he would not be released and had received a six-month administrative detention order, which had been issued on August 23, 2017 by the Minister of Defence without being notified to Mr. Salah Hamouri.

On September 5, 2017, the Jerusalem District Court reinstated a sentence against Mr. Salah Hamouri originally issued in 2005 and ordered him to serve the remaining three-month sentence. This represents the time that was left for Mr. Salah Hamouri to serve prior to his release as part of the Wafa Al Ahrar exchange deal. A representative from the French Consulate in Jerusalem and Mr. Salah Hamouri’s father were prevented from entering the courtroom.

On September 7, 2017, Mr. Hamouri was transferred from al-Mascobiyeh (The Russian Compound) interrogation facility in Jerusalem to Ketziot (al-Naqab) prison’s section III.

On September 13, 2017, the Israeli Supreme Court annulled the Jerusalem District Court decision from September 5, 2017.

On September 17, 2017, Jerusalem District Court confirmed a six-month administrative detention[3] against Mr. Salah Hamouri. Mr Hamouri was reportedly suspected by Israeli authorities of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a threat to national security in Jerusalem and surrounding areas in the West Bank.

On September 30, 2018, Mr. Salah Hamouri was released after spending 13 months in detention. The judge also banned Mr. Hamouri from celebrating his release. The exact motives and charges against Mr. Salah Hamouri have so far remained confidential, as it is generally the case for Palestinians subjected to administrative detention and Israeli military and civil courts. Mr. Hamouri regained his family home in Al-Ram, East Jerusalem.

On June 30, 2020 around 10 a.m., Mr. Salah Hamouri was arrested again by the Israeli authorities at a medical centre in Jerusalem where he was going to be tested for coronavirus before leaving for France where his wife and son live. He was then taken to the Moskobiyeh interrogation centre in Jerusalem, without being told the reasons for his arrest.

On July 1, 2020, a judge at the Israeli Court of First Instance ordered the extension of his detention until July 7, 2020, for the purposes of further interrogations. During these interrogations, the authorities mainly questioned him about his relationships and tried to force him to leave the country permanently. Addameer’s lawyer filed an appeal against the extension of M. Salah Hamouri’s detention, which was rejected during the appeal session of July 5, 2020.

On July 7, 2020, the Israeli Court of First Instance in Jerusalem decided to release Mr. Salah Hamouri under three conditions. First, Mr. Hamouri had to pay a bail of 2,000 shekels (approximately 770 Euros) in addition to a personal financial guarantee and another third party guarantee of 1,000 shekels each (approximately 256 Euros). Second, Mr. Hamouri was given a list of persons he is prohibited from contacting for three months. Third, he must make himself available for any court summons.

Additionally, Mr. Salah Hamouri’s wife, Ms. Elsa Lefort, a French national, and their son, have been banned by Israeli authorities from entering Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 2016.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Israel urging them to :

i. Refrain from withdrawing Mr. Salah Hamouri’s permanent residence card as it would only aim at punishing him for the exercise of his legitimate human rights activities;

ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Salah Hamouri, his family, and all the human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

iii. Ensure Mr. Salah Hamouri’s right to travel abroad and return to Israel freely; authorise Mr. Salah Hamouri’s wife, Ms. Elsa Lefort, a French national, and their son, to freely re-enter Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

iv. Comply with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in accordance with international human rights instruments.

Addresses:

· Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel; Email: b.netanyahu@pmo.gov.il, pm_eng@pmo.gov.il, Twitter: @netanyahu
· Mr. Benny Gantz, Minister of Defense; Email: bgantz@knesset.gov.il
· Mr. Gabi Ashkenazy, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Email: sar@mfa.gov.il, gashkenazy@knesset.gov.il
· Mr. Avi Nissenkorn; Minister of Justice; E-mail: sar@justice.gov.il, anissenkorn@knesset.gov.il
· Mr. Avichai Mandelblit, State Attorney; Email: state-attorney@justice.gov.il
· H.E. Ambassador Ms. Aviva Raz Shechter, Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; Email: mission-israel@geneva.mfa.gov.il
· H.E. Ambassador Simona Frankel; Embassy of Israel in Belgium and Luxembourg; Email: web@brussels.mfa.gov.il

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Israel in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, September 7, 2020

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu , the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39


[1] Addameer (Arabic for conscience) is a Palestinian NGO that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons offering free legal aid to political prisoners, advocating their rights at the national and international levels, and working to end torture and other violations of prisoners’ rights. It is also a member of OMCT SOS-Torture Network.
[2] On October 18, 2011, 477 Palestinian prisoners were released from Israeli prisons as part of an exchange deal in which Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been abducted by Hamas in 2006, was released. Several of the freed Palestinian prisoners have been re-imprisoned since then.
[3] Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. For more information see http://www.addameer.org/israeli_military_judicial_system/administrative_detention

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