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Amnesty International condemns Israel's detention of Palestinian-French NGO worker

Sept. 19, 2017 4:54 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 24, 2017 3:46 P.M.)
Addameer's field researcher Salah Hamouri detained by Israeli forces during raid on Aug. 23, 2017 (Credit: Addameer)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Amnesty International responded on Monday to the Israeli government's decision to imprison Palestinian-French NGO worker Salah Hamouri under the widely-condemned policy of administrative detention, which allows for internment without charge or trial.

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 Aug. 23, Israeli forces detained Hamouri, a field researcher for prisoners rights group Addameer. Hamouri, who has was previously imprisoned by Israel but released in a prisoners' exchange deal in 2011, was then issued a six-month administrative detention order.

However, an Israeli court later ordered Hamouri to serve the remainder of his prison sentence from which he was released in 2011, approximately three months. The prosecution then appealed this sentence, and his six-month administrative detention order was reinstated.

“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 under 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 held in administrative detention since July 2.

Addameer considers administrative detention to be a form of “arbitrary detention” and “psychological torture.”

Palestinians could 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, 6,279 Palestinians were imprisoned by Israel as of August, 465 of whom were administrative detainees. The group has estimated that some 40 percent of Palestinian men will be detained by Israel at some point in their lives.

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