Harassment against human rights lawyer Salah Hammouri must end

We, the undersigned organisations, unions and institutions, condemn and reject the arbitrary measures taken by the Israeli occupying forces against the human rights defender and lawyer from Addameer, in violation of his obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. humans.

For many years, Salah Hammouri is the subject of a continuous campaign of harassment by the occupying forces because of his human rights activism. Mr. Hammouri spent nine years in Israeli occupation prisons following more than six arrests. The longest time he spent in an occupation prison was seven consecutive years between 2005 and 2011, after he was forced to choose between being deported to France for 15 years or imprisoned for 7 years. Since early March 2022, the Israeli occupation forces have held Mr. Hammouri in their prisons without charge under the administrative detention system, based on a secret file that even his lawyer is not allowed to see. These actions render his detention arbitrary and illegal under international law.

The occupying forces took several additional measures against Mr. Hammouri in an attempt to expel him from Jerusalem. Most recently, in October 2021, they issued a decision to revoke his residency in Jerusalem on charges of disloyalty to the State of Israel, which was also based on “secret evidence”. Subsequently, they attempted to enforce the decision by attempting to deport him to France; where he holds citizenship. Mr. Hammouri’s wife and children currently reside in France because the occupation authorities prevented them from entering the occupied territories, thus depriving him of his right to have his family reside with him.

When Mr. Hammouri is released, he fears he will be forcibly deported and expelled from his hometown of Jerusalem. Israel’s Supreme Court is due to hear Mr. Hammouri’s residency revocation case in February 2023.

It is important to understand the harmful actions taken against Mr. Hammouri for two main reasons:

• First, revoking his residence in Jerusalem for failing to show loyalty to the occupying state on the basis of “secret evidence” represents an unprecedented Israeli measure against the Arab and Palestinian presence in Jerusalem. It is a community that is already suffering from escalating settlement projects and attempts to Judaize the city by erasing the Palestinian presence, despite the illegality of the occupation under international law. Adopting this precedent against Mr. Hammouri means opening the door for Israeli occupation forces to expel any Jerusalem Palestinians from the city by revoking their residence in Jerusalem on the basis of “purely secret evidence”. This will provide a powerful new tool for Israel to reduce the number of Palestinians in Jerusalem without needing to provide any legal justification.

• Second, Mr. Hammouri is a target because he is a human rights defender and advocate for Palestinian prisoners. This means that Israel is waging a war against human rights defenders, both as individuals and groups, completing what it started by labeling six Palestinian human rights organizations as terrorist groups, including Addameer where Mr. Hammouri works. In fact, Israel previously personally targeted Mr. Hammouri for being a human rights defender by hacking into his cell phone and installing Pegasus software developed by Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO. Through these practices, Israel seeks to send the message to all peaceful activists and human rights defenders that they have no immunity and may be subject to family separation, arbitrary detention and even expulsion from the country. .

Moreover, although Mr. Hammouri has French nationality, the French government has played no effective role in pressing for his release from this arbitrary detention. The Israeli government recently placed Mr. Hammouri in collective solitary confinement as punishment for sending a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron asking him to help with his release. Since then, the French government has taken no public action to help him, such as condemning his detention or calling on the Israeli occupation authorities to release him immediately. Instead, they simply visited him and asked the Israeli government to “respect his rights.” These actions are clearly insufficient, do not correspond to the usual response of the French authorities in the event of the arbitrary detection of French citizens and do not demonstrate a strong enough political will to hold the Israeli authorities to account.

Accordingly, the organizations, unions, institutions and human rights bodies that have signed this statement, alongside the Justice for Salah campaign, affirm the following:

1. We reject the harassment and arbitrary violations that the Israeli occupation forces inflict on Salah Hammouri as punishment for his human rights work and to discourage him and all human rights defenders from continuing to defend the Palestinians and to criticize Israeli violations. We :

• Condemn and reject the practice of administrative detention, emphasizing its violation of the provisions of international law. Thus, we call for the immediate release of all administrative detainees, including Salah Hammouri. We affirm that Israel’s administrative detention practices violate the text of Articles 42 and 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, only authorizes administrative detention for reasons necessary and imperative to maintain its exceptional character. On the contrary, Israel practices administrative detention systematically and repeatedly for undisclosed “secret reasons”, making these detentions arbitrary. Therefore, this practice also violates Article 75 of Protocol I annexed to the Geneva Conventions of 1977, which is itself part of customary international law.

• Condemn and reject the Israeli decision to revoke Mr. Hammouri’s residency in Jerusalem based on a secret file and allegations of disloyalty to the occupying power. We emphasize that this is a violation of international law according to Article 43 of the Hague Convention on the Rules of Land Warfare of 1907 and Article 64 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 , which prohibit an occupying power from acting as owner of sovereignty over occupied territory. Israel’s practices also violate Articles 45 of the Hague Convention and 68(3) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibit an occupying power from demanding loyalty from the inhabitants of the occupied territory. Furthermore, it is illegal under international humanitarian law, as forcible expulsion of inhabitants of occupied territory is considered a war crime under Article 8 of the Rome Statute. In fact, when forced expulsion is part of a generalized and systemic policy against civilians – as is the case in Israel – it is also considered a crime against humanity under article 7 of the Statute. from Rome. Furthermore, revoking the right of residence of human rights defenders and other persons in Jerusalem violates various rules of international human rights law such as the right to family life, the right to freedom of movement, including the right to leave and return to one’s homeland, and the right to expression and peaceful assembly in accordance with Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These eviction practices also contradict statements by the UN Security Council and the General Assembly that it is illegal to change the status quo in terms of demographics in the city of Jerusalem. Finally, emptying the city of its Arab inhabitants is a blatant application of the internationally condemned practice of apartheid.

2. We demand that the French government act effectively and quickly to help secure the release of French citizen Salah Hammouri, expose and prevent his revocation of residency and forced expulsion from Jerusalem, and compensate him for human rights violations. man of whom he was a victim.

3. We demand that the International Criminal Court move the investigation forward as soon as possible and prosecute Israel for its serious violations of international humanitarian and criminal law, constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity.

4. We call on the United Nations, in particular the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, to take effective measures to put an end to Israel’s practices of revoking the residences of Jerusalem, emptying the city of its Arab residents and changing its demographic composition. contrary to the existing legal status.

5. We demand that the governments of the world activate universal jurisdiction in accordance with Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure that Israel is held accountable and does not enjoy impunity for the grave violations it commits against Palestinians, including arbitrary detention and forced displacement.

6. We demand that member states of the international community, world parliaments and civil society institutions work to pressure Israel to respect human rights work. We call on these states and organizations to help provide protection to the Palestinian people and human rights defenders, to document violations of international law committed by the occupation, and to hold the international community to account.

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This declaration remains open for signature by interested organizations and institutions. here.

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