Israel Extends Again “Administrative Detention” of Palestinian-French Lawyer

The Palestinian-French lawyer, Salah Hamouri, will spend at least three more months detained without charge under a controversial Israeli occupation practice. Hamouri has been arrested and jailed by Israeli authorities on several occasions during the last ten years.

Att. Salah Hamouri (Photo: Justice for Salah Hamouri)

Israeli authorities overnight Sunday-Monday extended the detention of Hamouri, 37, under what is known as “administrative detention”. The practice allows suspects to be detained for renewable periods of up to six months.

In last April Hamouri, along with rights groups, filed a complaint in France against surveillance firm NSO Group for having illegally infiltrated his mobile phone with the spyware Pegasus. He is one of several Palestinian activists whose phones were hacked using the Pegasus malware, according to a report in November by human rights groups.

“Israeli authorities have detained Salah Hamouri without trial or charges for months, outlawed the human rights group he works for, and revoked his legal status in Jerusalem,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch. “Hamouri’s plight embodies the struggle of Palestinian human rights defenders challenging Israel’s apartheid and persecution.”

Israeli authorities should cease the widespread practice of holding Palestinians in administrative detention without trial or charge, Human Rights Watch said. While the law of occupation permits administrative detention as a temporary and exceptional measure, detaining hundreds of Palestinians, many for prolonged periods, with no end in sight far exceeds what the law authorizes, according Human Rights Watch.

In 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Committee called on Israel to “end the practice of administrative detention and the use of secret evidence in administrative detention proceedings, and ensure that individuals subject to administrative detention orders are either promptly charged with a criminal offence, or released.”

“Through Salah Hamouri, Israeli authorities are escalating their all-out assault on Palestinian civil society and seeking to set a dangerous precedent that would allow them to more expeditiously force out Palestinians,” Shakir said. “French authorities should press Israel to stop harassing Hamouri.”