Amnesty Int’l Condemns Israel’s Detention of Palestinian Attorney

Responding to the news that an Israeli court has confirmed the six month administrative detention order for Salah Hammouri, a field researcher for the Palestinian human rights NGO Addameer, Amnesty International has condemned the far-right Israeli government’s decision to imprison the Palestinian-French Attorney under the widely condemned policy which allows for internment without charge or trial.

Addameer's field researcher Salah Hamouri detained by Israeli forces during a raid on August 23, 2017

Addameer’s field researcher Salah Hamouri detained by Israeli forces during a raid on August 23, 2017 (Photo: Addameer)

The human rights organization posted a statement on its website, quoting Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, as saying that “the arbitrary detention of Salah Hamouri is yet another shameful example of the Israeli authorities’ abusive use of administrative detention to detain suspects indefinitely without charge or trial.”

On August 23, Israeli forces detained Hamouri, a field researcher for prisoners’ rights group Addameer, and within days issued a six-month administrative detention order against him. Hamouri was previously imprisoned by Israel but released in a prisoners’ exchange deal in 2011.

“Rather than locking him up without presenting a shred of evidence against him, the Israeli authorities must either charge him with a genuine criminal offence or order his immediate release,” Mughrabi said. “For 50 years, Israel has relied upon administrative detention to suppress peaceful dissent and as a substitute for proper criminal prosecution. Now they appear to be using it to target human rights activists. They must take urgent steps to end this cruel practice once and for all.”

Amnesty International noted that Hamouri is the second Addameer staff member to be held in administrative detention. The group’s Media Coordinator, Hasan Safadi, has been held in administrative detention since June 2016. Khalida Jarrar, a long-serving PLC member representing the left-wing PFLP, is also a member of Addameer’s board, and has been held in administrative detention since July 2 of this year.

Addameer considers administrative detention to be a form of arbitrary detention and psychological torture. Palestinians are liable to develop a variety of psychological disorders owing to the controversial policy, the group said, including long-term depression and chronic anxiety. Rights groups and activists have long pointed out that Israel’s use of administrative detention has been used as a tool by Israel to detain Palestinians without justification. The policy is almost exclusively used against Palestinians.

According to Addameer, as of August of this year 6,279 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel, 465 of them are administrative detainees. The group has estimated that some 40 percent of Palestinian men will be detained by Israel at some point in their lives.