Israel/OPT: Inhumane treatment of Salah Hamouri

Alain Bachellier via Wikicommons

Paris–Geneva, October 12, 2022 - French-Palestinian lawyer and researcher for the NGO Adameer, Salah Hamouri, currently in administrative detention, was put in solitary confinement on September 28, 2022, after having started a hunger strike. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT) and the League for Human Rights (Ligue des droits de l’Homme - LDH) urge the Israeli authorities to unconditionally release Mr Salah Hamouri.

Since March 10, 2022, Salah Hamouri has been held in administrative detention in the high-security prison of Hadarim, Israel. He was arrested without charge or trial, on the sole basis of a file declared secret that his lawyer is not allowed to consult. This makes his detention illegal under international law.

On September 25, 2022, 30 detainees, including Salah Hamouri, went on hunger strike to protest the administrative detention imposed on them and 740 other Palestinian prisoners. In response to this action, the authorities placed Mr Hamouri in solitary confinement on September 28, 2022. The prisoners must also pay fines for each day of their hunger strike. On October 9, 2022, 20 other prisoners joined the strike.

These punitive measures are in violation of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Indeed, Mr Hamouri has been placed in a 3m2 cell without windows or ventilation. He has been denied the right to have visits, access to the canteen and cannot change his clothes. On October 2, 2022, a lawyer visited Mr Hamouri and was able to report on these inhumane conditions of detention. His health has deteriorated and he needs daily medical care but refuses to be examined by Israeli prison doctors, who deliberately neglect Palestinian detainees. He suffers from muscle pain, dizziness, headaches, insomnia and has lost about 7kg. Mr Hamouri is deprived of outdoor time and has not seen the light of day since the beginning of his solitary confinement.

For several years now, Mr Hamouri has been subjected to continuous repression by the Israeli occupation forces because of his active role in the defence of human rights. In total, Salah Hamouri has spent nine years in Israeli prisons, divided into six periods of detention. Accused in October 2021 of disloyalty to the State of Israel, his Jerusalemite identity card was withdrawn and attempts to deport him to France are still underway. The Israeli Supreme Court is expected to rule on the withdrawal of Salah Hamouri’s identity card in February 2023.

The organisations recall that to date, the French government has not requested the release of Mr Hamouri, although he was placed in solitary confinement a few months ago following a letter sent to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, asking him to demand his release.

The Observatory and LDH condemn the inhuman detention conditions to which Salah Hamouri is subjected and strongly condemn these abusive and arbitrary measures. The persecution against him seems to be only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate activities in defence of human rights, particularly in favour of Palestinian political prisoners.

The Observatory and LDH call on the Israeli authorities to immediately release Salah Hamouri and to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him. The two organisations also call on the French authorities to demand the immediate release of Mr Hamouri.

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