search

French-Palestinian lawyer held for alleged terror links jailed for 3 more months

Salah Hamouri held under administrative detention; was picked up day after publishing op-ed criticizing ‘Israeli apartheid’; rights groups say his phone was hacked with NSO spyware

Salah Hamouri, a French-Palestinian lawyer, embraces his father Hassan at their home in the village of Dahyat al-Barid near Jerusalem in the West Bank, after being released from an Israeli prison, on September 30, 2018. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
Salah Hamouri, a French-Palestinian lawyer, embraces his father Hassan at their home in the village of Dahyat al-Barid near Jerusalem in the West Bank, after being released from an Israeli prison, on September 30, 2018. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

A French-Palestinian lawyer will spend at least three more months detained without charge under a controversial Israeli practice, court documents show.

Israeli authorities overnight Sunday-Monday extended the detention of Salah Hamouri, 37, under what is known as administrative detention, according to the documents.

The practice allows suspects to be detained for renewable periods of up to six months.

An Israeli military court sentenced Hamouri to administrative detention in March. It accused him of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and said he “endangers security in the region.”

Hamouri, who holds French citizenship, denies being a member of the PFLP.

The PFLP has been implicated in multiple fatal attacks on Israelis and is considered by Israel, the United States and the European Union to be a terror group.

The military court documents, sent to Hamouri’s lawyers and seen by AFP, say that his administrative detention has been extended to September 5.

A day before his arrest in March, Hamouri published an op-ed in the socialist magazine Jacobin in which he wrote that what “Israel’s apartheid regime has done is aimed at silencing me and encouraging me to give up and leave the country.”

Hamouri has been arrested and jailed by Israeli authorities on several occasions.

In 2005, he was detained, then tried and convicted on charges of plotting to assassinate Ovadia Yosef, Israel’s former Sephardi chief rabbi.

French President Emmanuel Macron discussed his case several times with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He was among 1,027 Palestinian inmates freed by Israel in 2011 in exchange for the release from Gaza of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, but was re-arrested in 2017 and jailed for 18 months without trial over unspecified allegations.

“The detention system in Israeli prisons is often hard. The Israelis try everything to imprison our will, to isolate us from our society and our family,” Hamouri said at the time, denying association with the PFLP and the assassination attempt.

He has always maintained his innocence.

An Illustration of a man holding his phone with an NSO Group logo on a computer screen at the background, in Jerusalem, on February 7, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In 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.

Israel says administrative detention is intended to allow authorities to hold suspects while continuing to gather evidence, with the aim of preventing attacks or security offenses in the meantime.

But Palestinians, human rights groups and members of the international community say Israel abuses the measure.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed