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Detained human rights defender Salah Hammouri continues hunger strike while moved into solitary confinement

Status: 
In Solitary Confinement
About the situation

On 26 July 2022, the Israeli Prison Services (IPS) transferred human rights defender Salah Hammouri to a high-risk security facility in the Israeli prison, Hadarim, following his recent open letter to French President, Emmanuel Macron. On 21 July 2022, Salah Hammouri was re-classified as a high-risk prisoner. The human rights defender has been under administrative detention without charge or trial since 7 March 2022.

On 24 February 2022, the Israeli Attorney General (IAG), on behalf of the Israeli Minister of Interior, the Israeli Minster of Justice and the Government Judicial Advisor, replied to the request of the Supreme Court to address the appeal submitted by human rights defender Salah Hammouri’s legal counsels seeking the suspension of procedures including those that affect his right to movement. In its response, the IAG recommends that the court reject the appeal based on a “secret file”.

On 18 October 2021, human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri was notified of the Israeli Minister of Interior’s decision to revoke his permanent residency in Jerusalem and deport him to France on the basis of his alleged “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel”.

About Salah Hammouri

Salah Hammouri is a French-Palestinian human rights defender, lawyer and field researcher at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association based in Jerusalem. The human rights defender advocates for justice and accountability for violations of Palestinians human rights. Following his release as part of a prisoner exchange deal in 2011, Salah Hammouri’s liberty, work and freedom of expression have been continually attacked by Israeli authorities.

30 September 2022
Detained human rights defender Salah Hammouri continues hunger strike while moved into solitary confinement

On 30 September 2022, lawyer and human rights defender Salah Hammouri entered his sixth day of hunger strike along with 29 other Palestinian detainees to protest against their administrative detention in Israeli prisons. On 28 September 2022, as a result of his strike, the human rights defender has been punitively moved into solitary confinement in a dungeon isolation cell with extremely poor conditions, while his health condition is deteriorating. Salah Hammouri has been under administrative detention without charge or trial since 7 March 2022.

Salah Hammouri is a French-Palestinian human rights defender, lawyer and field researcher at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association based in Jerusalem. Through his human rights work, the human rights defender seeks actively justice and accountability for violations of Palestinian rights. Following his release as part of a prisoner exchange deal in 2011, Salah Hammouri’s liberty, work and freedom of expression have been continually attacked by Israel.

On 30 September 2022, human rights defender Salah Hammouri entered his sixth day of hunger strike as part of a collective open hunger strike initiated on 25 September 2022 by 30 Palestinian detainees to protest against their administrative detention in Israeli prisons. The collective hunger strike will reportedly continue as Salah Hammouri and the administrative detainees were not able to reach an agreement with the Israeli authorities.

On 28 September 2022, as a result of his hunger strike, Salah Hammouri has been punitively moved into solitary confinement in a dungeon isolation cell with extremely poor conditions. The cell is 2×2 square meters, with no bed nor windows, and with only one bulb. He is not allowed to take books, notebooks or family photos. Administrative detainees, who punitively get placed in isolation, are deprived from outdoor time and activity, family visits, phone calls and lawyers’ visits. They are also subject to paying punitive fines for each day of their hunger strike. Salah Hammouri’s health condition is deteriorating, he has sore muscles, dizziness, headache, and has lost about 7kg so far.

On 4 September 2022, one day before his release date, Salah Hammouri’s administrative detention was renewed for the second time for another three months. Neither Salah Hammouri nor his lawyer were informed of the new decision, leaving the human rights defender in a continual state of distress. The same occurred on 6 June 2022, when Salah Hammouri learned that his administrative detention had been renewed for another 3 months through the available news channels in his cell.

Human rights defender Salah Hammouri’s hunger strike comes in protest against his arbitrary detention and against the broad escalation of administrative detentions by Israeli authorities targeting Palestinian human rights defenders, students, and others. On 4 August 2022, Salah Hammouri’s lawyer submitted an appeal regarding his detention, which was rejected by the military court on the same day based on a “secret file”. The use of "secret information" is been consistently used by Israeli authorities to detain Palestinian human rights defenders for an indefinite time, violating their right to fair trial, liberty and security.

The human rights defender remains at risk of forcible deportation from Jerusalem upon his release. On 18 October 2021, the Israeli Minister of Interior informed Salah Hammouri of the decision to revoke his permanent residency in Jerusalem and deport him to France on the basis of his alleged “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel” based on a “secret file”.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the continued administrative detention and health condition of Salah Hammouri. It calls on the Israeli authorities to ensure the human rights defender’s immediate and unconditional release, to allow him to see his lawyer, and take all measures to guarantee his physical and psychological integrity and security. Front Line Defenders believes that the human rights defender is being detained solely as a result of his peaceful and legitimate human rights work.

26 July 2022
Human rights defender Salah Hammouri facing harassment after addressing French President

On 26 July 2022, the Israeli Prison Services (IPS) transferred human rights defender Salah Hammouri to a high-risk security facility in the Israeli prison, Hadarim, following his recent open letter to French President, Emmanuel Macron. On 21 July 2022, Salah Hammouri was re-classified as a high-risk prisoner. The human rights defender has been under administrative detention without charge or trial since 7 March 2022.

The punitive re-classification and following transfer to the high-risk facility in Hadarim prison took place after the French-Palestinian human rights defender Salah Hammouri issued an open letter to French President, Emmanuel Macron, published on 14 July 2022. In his letter, the human rights defender demanded that the French President put pressure on the Israeli authorities to ensure his immediate release. Salah Hammouri’s re-classification as a high-risk prisoner or “Sagav” has resulted in the ill-treatment of the human rights defender, with the use of doubled hand and foot cuffs, as well as repeated night raids to his cell. Hadarim prison is considered to be a “collective isolation” prison, with one section being designated for Palestinian “security prisoners.”

During his transfer, the human rights defender faced degrading conditions which included wearing handcuffs, foot cuffs, and restraints that connected the two cuffs due to his “Sagav” classification, and was forced to carry his belongings. The human rights defender was subjected to extensive and repeated searches. In addition, Salah Hammouri spent the night during his transfer in Al-Ramleh prison, where he was searched and put in a metal cage until he was designated a cell to sleep in. The designated cell had extremely poor sanitary conditions with high levels of humidity and mold.

On 4 August 2022, the Military Judge of the Court of Appeals rejected the appeal submitted by Salah Hammouri’s lawyer concerning his arbitrary detention. On 6 June 2022, the then-expected release date of the human rights defender, Salah Hammouri learned through the available news channels in his cell that his administrative detention had been renewed for another 3 months, noting that the decision to renew his administrative detention was signed on 2 June 2022. On 10 March 2022, the Israeli Military Commander issued a 3-month administrative detention order against Salah Hammouri. The decision came after the human rights defender was arrested from his house in Kufr Aqab in Eastern Jerusalem on 7 March 2022.

The human rights defender remains at risk of forcible deportation from Jerusalem upon his release. On 18 October 2021, the Israeli Minister of Interior informed Salah Hammouri of the decision to revoke his permanent residency in Jerusalem and deport him to France, on the basis of his alleged “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel” based on a “secrete file.”

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the continued administrative detention of Salah Hammouri and condemns the re-classification and transfer of the human rights defender to a high-risk Israeli prison facility. It calls for the human rights defender’s immediate and unconditional release, as it believes that the administrative detention and ill-treatment are retaliation for his peaceful and legitimate work in the defence of human rights.

19 April 2022
Salah Hammouri placed in administrative detention

On 10 March 2022, the Israeli Military Commander issued a 4-month administrative detention order against Salah Hammouri. The decision came days after the human rights defender was detained at his house in Kufr Aqab in Eastern Jerusalem. On 7 March, human rights defender Salah Hammouri was detained after Israeli security forces raided his home in the early hours of the morning. The human rights defender also had three mobile phones and his personal laptop confiscated during the raid. Salah Hammouri was taken to Ofer prison in Ramallah, where he remained until the evening. The human rights defender was allowed to have a phone call with his lawyer, to inform him about his situation before his transfer to Al-Moskobiya detention centre in Jerusalem late on 7 March 2022.

On 9 March 2022, the human rights defender appeared in Ofer military court via video conference, during which his detention was extended for 48 hours on the basis of the Emergency Law of 1945. Salah Hammouri was allowed to have two visits with his lawyer since his arrest on 7 March 2022.

Administrative detention is a policy used by the Israeli authorities in the OPT, where individuals can be detained for up to six months without charges; the detention can be renewed repeatedly without end. Administrative detention is considered to be a punitive tool used by the Israeli occupying authorities to suppress the peaceful and legitimate work of Palestinian human rights defenders.

28 February 2022
Human rights defender Salah Hammouri still facing imminent residency revocation and forced deportation for alleged breach of alliance

On 24 February 2022, the Israeli Attorney General (IAG), on behalf of the Israeli Minister of Interior, the Israeli Minster of Justice and the Government Judicial Advisor, replied to the request of the Supreme Court to address the appeal submitted by human rights defender Salah Hammouri’s legal counsels seeking the suspension of procedures including those that affect his right to movement. In its response, the IAG recommends that the court reject the appeal based on a “secret file”.

On 3 February 2022, the defence counsel for human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri submitted separate petitions to the Israeli Minister of Interior and the Israeli Attorney General in response to the decision taken by the Israeli High Court on 26 December 2021 to continue with the revocation of Salah Hammouri’s permanent residency and forced deportation.

The aforementioned decision rejected the appeal made by Salah Hammouri’s legal counsel to suspend the revocation of his permanent residency in Jerusalem and his forced deportation for alleged “breach of alliance to the State of Israel”. On 3 January 2022, the Jerusalem District Court rejected the defense counsel’s appeal of the permanent residency revocation. A final ruling on this case by the Israeli High Court is pending.

In the decision taken on 26 December 2021, the Israeli High Court cited that “secret information” provided by the Israeli Minister of Interior confirmed that Salah Hammouri was allegedly a security threat to the State. The “secret information” has not been shared with Salah Hammouri nor his defence counsel. Salah Hammouri’s right to a fair trial is severely undermined by the non-disclosure of “secret information” and its use as evidence in a legal process.

 

Salah Hammouri’s defence counsel had earlier appealed to the Jerusalem District Court to suspend the implementation of residency revocation and forced deportation for alleged “breach of alliance”. The appeal also contained a petition to prevent the suspension of services associated with the residency, such as health insurance and the ability to freely travel. On 21 November 2021, the appeal was rejected by the Jerusalem District Court. On 14 December 2021, Salah Hammouri was informed by the Israeli National Social Security Agency that he had his national and health insurance terminated due to his imminent deportation.

Since 1967, the Israeli occupation regime has revoked the residency of more than 14,500 Palestinians. In the past decade, occupation authorities have gradually expanded the criteria for revoking residency rights and have granted authority to the Ministry of Interior to revoke Palestinian residency rights on arbitrary and punitive grounds. Front Line Defenders reminds the Israeli occupation authorities that the forced transfer of protected Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem is considered a war crime under Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

1 Al-Haq, Residency Revocation: Israel’s Forcible Transfer of Palestinians from Jerusalem, 3 July 2017, https://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/6331.html

22 October 2021
Human rights defender facing deportation for alleged “breach of allegiance”

On 18 October 2021, human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri was notified of the Israeli Minister of Interior’s decision to revoke his permanent residency in Jerusalem and deport him to France on the basis of his alleged “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel”.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Salah Hammouri is a French-Palestinian human rights defender, lawyer and field researcher at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association based in Jerusalem. The human rights defender advocates for justice and accountability for violations of Palestinians human rights. Following his release as part of a prisoner exchange deal in 2011, Salah Hammouri’s liberty, work and freedom of expression have been continually attacked by Israeli authorities.

On 18 October 2021, Israel’s Minister of Interior notified Salah Hammouri of her decision relating to the revocation of the human rights defender’s permanent residency in Jerusalem and his imminent deportation. The decision is based on Salah Hammouri’s alleged “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel” and on vaguely-worded and poorly-defined allegations of "terrorist activities" and/or affiliation with "terrorist entities," relating to "secret information" he allegedly withheld from the public. Salah Hammouri has been given 30 days to appeal the decision. Currently, the human rights defender has also had his Palestinian ID card revoked and cannot travel. Previously, Israel banned the human rights defender from the West Bank for almost 16 months and deported his wife, Elsa Lefort, a French national, separating Salah Hammouri from his wife and son.

Salah Hammouri has been subjected to continuous harassment by the Israeli authorities, including travel bans, exorbitant bail and fines, house arrests, and family separation. Following these targeted attempts, Israeli authorities first notified Salah Hammouri of their intent to revoke his permanent residency in Jerusalem and deport him on 3 September 2020 due to charges of “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel”. On 29 June 2021, the Israeli Minister of Interior had declared her intention to adopt the recommendation proposed by the previous position-holder of permanently revoking the human rights defender's residency.

The revocation of the human rights defender’s residency status on vague grounds of “terrorist activities” and “withholding secret information” as well as previous arrests and forms of harassment against him marks a grave expansion of Israel's systematic policies and practices intended to silence Palestinian human rights defenders who seek justice and accountability for violations of Palestinian rights.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the decision and allegations of terrorism brought against Salah Hammouri in response to his peaceful and legitimate human rights work. Front Line Defenders also expresses concern about the increased executive power given to the Israeli Minister of Interior in 2018 to deport Palestinians failing to pass the criteria set forth in the Entry into Israel Law. The use by Israel of its domestic Entry into Israel Law to the protected Palestinian population in East Jerusalem, revoking permanent residencies, is a measure of direct forcible transfer, in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.