Israel: Salah Hamouri finally released!

08/10/2018
Urgent Appeal

New information
ISR 001 / 0917 / OBS 096.2
Release on bail /
Harassment
Israel /
Occupied Palestinian Territory
October 8, 2018

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 release on bail of Mr. Salah Hamouri, a Franco-Palestinian lawyer and field researcher with Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer) [1] in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

According to the information received, on September 30, 2018, Mr. Salah Hamouri was finally released from Ketziot Prison’s section III (Neguev desert) by a decision from the Magistrate Court of Jerusalem, after more than a year in detention without charge or trial. The judge also banned Mr. Hamouri from celebrating his release, participating in any demonstration where flags are hold and in any gathering, meeting or activity for an illegal organisation for a period of 30 days. He was additionally ordered to pay a 3,000 shekels (709 EUR) bail for his release. Mr. Hamouri regained his family home in Al-Ram, East Jerusalem. There is no trial, investigation or other action continuing from the Israeli State against Mr. Salah Hamouri.

Arrested and placed under administrative detention on August 23, 2017 over alleged “illegal activities” in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Mr. Salah Hamouri spent 13 months in detention (see background information below). 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 justice.

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Salah Hamouri’s wife, Ms. Elsa Lefort, a French national, and their son, are banned by Israeli authorities from entering Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 2016.

The Observatory welcomes the release of Mr. Salah Hamouri and thanks all individuals, organisations and institutions who intervened in his favour. It also recalls that he should have never been detained in the first place, as his detention was arbitrary and clearly aimed at punishing his legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory condemns and calls on the Israeli authorities to stop the practice of administrative detention targeting Palestinian civilians, including Palestinian human rights defenders. The Observatory further calls on the Israeli authorities to end any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Hamouri, his family, and all the 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 accused 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.

Mr. Salah Hamouri’s administrative detention was renewed on February 26, 2018 (4 months) and June 27, 2018 (3 months) by a Jerusalem District Tribunal.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Israel urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Salah Hamouri as well as that of all human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

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. 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;

iv. 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 and standards.

Addresses:

Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel - Minister of Foreign Affairs; Fax: + 972 267 055 55 / 972-2-5303367; Email: b.netanyahu@pmo.gov.il, pm_eng@pmo.gov.il
Mr. Avigdor Liberman, Minister of Defense; Fax: +972 369 169 40; Email: aliberman@knesset.gov.il
Ms. Ayelet Shaked; Minister of Justice; Fax: +972 262 886 18; E-mail: sar@justice.gov.il
Mr. Shai Nitzan, 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. Fax: +41 22 716 05 55. Email: mission-israel@geneva.mfa.gov.il
H.E. Ambassador Simona Frankel; Embassy of Israel in Belgium and Luxembourg, Fax: +32 2 373.56.17; Email: web@brussels.mfa.gov.il

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

***
Paris-Geneva, October 8, 2018

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 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[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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