Israel/OPT: Administrative detention of NGO worker Salah Hammouri extended

Responding to the extension of Salah Hammouri’s administrative detention by the Israeli authorities, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, said:

“Being held in administrative detention has placed Salah Hammouri in indefinite limbo; the evidence against him is being kept secret, he is not able to effectively challenge his detention and does not know when he will be released. This violates his right to a fair trial and his ongoing detention without charge is a violation of his right to liberty. Salah Hammouri must either be charged or released immediately.”

“Salah Hammouri’s detention is another outrageous example of Israel’s extensive use of administrative detention. Its use has been steadily expanding over the years of the Israeli occupation. Amnesty International calls on Israel to end its use of this practice, which places detainees and their families in a continuous state of uncertainty.”

Background

Salah Hammouri is a French national and a resident of East Jerusalem. He works as a field researcher in Jerusalem for Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a Palestinian human rights organization. Addameer’s board member Khalida Jarrar has also been held in administrative detention since 2 July 2017, and three staff members from the organization are banned by the Israeli authorities from travelling outside Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

Israeli forces detained Salah Hammouri during an overnight raid on 23 August 2017 at his home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Kafr Aqab. On 29 August 2017, the Israeli Minister of Defence Avigdor Lieberman issued a six-month administrative detention order against Salah Hammouri. On 5 September, the day of the order's confirmation hearing, the Jerusalem District Court decided to instead reinstate Salah Hammouri’s remaining time on a previous sentence for a conviction from 2005, under which he would serve three months in prison, a decision that was appealed by the prosecution. On 13 September Israel’s High Court ruled in favour of the prosecution’s appeal against reinstating the sentence. And on 17 September the Israeli District Court confirmed the initial six-month administrative detention order.

Israeli authorities formerly imprisoned Salah Hammouri for seven years, and released him as part of a prisoner exchange deal in 2011. The Israeli authorities banned the East Jerusalem resident from entering the occupied West Bank until September 2016, and have also banned his wife, a French national, from entering the OPT or Israel since 2016. In February 2016, Salah Hammouri’s wife was deported from Israel after being detained for three days at a detention centre near Ben Gurion airport. Salah Hammouri’s family, including his wife, child, and father in-law, have been harassed and threatened by unknown people, after a French website published all their contact details.