Current Administrative Detention
On 7 March 2022, between 4:00-5:00 am, about 25 Israeli occupying forces, including special unit forces, Al-Musta'ribeen Unit, broke Salah Hammouri's apartment door in Kufor Aqab north of Jerusalem, entered his bedroom, and grabbed him from his bed while still sleeping. The Israeli occupying forces ransacked the premises and confiscated three mobile phones and one laptop belonging to Salah. During his arrest, Salah sustained an injury to his wrist as he was bound with a plastic zip-tie, aggressively escorted out, and forced to kneel on the floor facing a wall until he was transferred to a military jeep. Salah was first taken to Ofer military base in Beitounia, Ramallah, where he was held until the evening and later transferred to Al-Mascobbiya Interrogation Center in Jerusalem. On 13 March 2022, Salah was again transferred to the holding section in Ofer prison, where he is currently detained when submitting this urgent appeal.
On 9 March 2022, Salah Hammouri appeared in Ofer military court via video conference, where the military judge ruled to extend his detention for 48 hours to issue an administrative detention order. The following day, on 10 March 2022, the Israeli military commander issued a three-month administrative detention order against Salah, without charge or trial, based on "secret information", to end on 6 June 2022. Notably, 490 Palestinian administrative detainees are currently undertaking a collective boycott of Israeli military courts to protest the Israeli occupation's illegal systematic and arbitrary practice of administrative detention. Salah joins the boycott, refusing to participate in the military proceedings related to his administrative detention and requesting his legal counsel do the same.
On 6 June 2022—the morning of his expected release from Ofer prison—Salah learned about his three-month administrative detention renewal order through media channels available at his cell. The Israeli occupation authorities had a renewal order issued by 2 June 2022; however, they chose to conceal that information from Salah and his legal counsel, to then only inform his legal counsel hours before the release date. On 9 June 2022, Ofer military court confirmed the renewal order for an additional three months to end on 5 September 2022. Salah's administrative detention, without charge or trial, is based on "secret information" and is still subject to indefinite renewals.
On 1 July 2022, the Palestinian administrative detainees suspended their collective boycott of Israeli military courts to protest the Israeli occupation's illegal systematic, and arbitrary practice of administrative detention. This prompted Salah and his lawyer to appeal his current administrative detention order. On 4 August 2022, Ofer military court refused Salah’s administrative detention order appeal, stating that he poses a security threat due to his “activities” in affiliation with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, emphasizing that it has nothing to do with his current residency revocation status.
Punitive Classification and Transfer to Hadarim Prison
On 14 July 2022, Salah Hammouri addressed French President Emmanuel Macron with an open letter, calling for immediate serious action against his continued persecution and harassment by the Israeli occupation authorities, emphasizing France’s obligations towards its citizens. A week later, on 21 July 2022, at 12:30 am, Salah’s cell in Ofer prison was raided by the Israeli Prison Services, who heavily searched the cell and ransacked it. The same day Salah was punitively re-classified as a “sagav” prisoner, which means a prisoner with a high degree of danger; this entails excessive restrictions on him as a prisoner, including the use of cuffs on his hands and feet every time he is transferred or moves outside of his cell.
Later, on Wednesday, 27 July 2022, around 12:30 midnight, Salah Hammouri was transferred from Ofer prison to Hadarim prison through Bosta, passing through the detention center in Ramleh prison to spend three hours for the night and then taken to Hadarim prison in the early dawn hours. Due to his new classification as a “high-security danger,” during his transfer to Hadarim prison through Bosta and stay in Ramleh prison, Salah was cuffed with two metal cuffs on his hands, two metal cuffs on his feet, and one long metal cuff that connected the cuffs on his hands with the ones on his feet.
Salah’s transfer was around five hours and a half in cuffs. The shackles on his hands and feet were tight, which made his movement very difficult and limited, and above that, he was made to carry his belongings on his own while in this situation. Once he arrived at the detention center in Ramleh prison, he was searched and put in a metal cage until he was designated a cell to sleep in, the cells were filthy and humid with no ventilation, and there was no food in the detention center. Sleeping was challenging due to the severe conditions. At around 3:45 am, Salah was then subjected to another degrading search before being taken to Bosta towards Hadarim prison, which was a journey of about one hour.
Salah Hammouri is currently arbitrarily detained in Hadarim Israeli high-security prison. It is considered to be a collective isolation prison in which two detainees/prisoners are held in each cell. This site is located close to Hasharon prison South of the line extending between the two cities of Tulkarem and Netanya on the old road leading to Hadera. Hadarim is a relatively new prison modeled after the US prison system with circularly shaped sections. The prison was established primarily for civilians, but later one section became designated for Palestinian security prisoners and those with high sentences. The first wave of Palestinian security prisoners sent to Hadarim was in October 1999. The prison consists of eight sections, each of which has around forty cells and can hold up to 600 prisoners. Salah Hammouri spends most of his time reading and working out.
Salah Hammouri's Permanent Jerusalem Residency Revocation under "Breach of Allegiance"
On 3 September 2020, Salah Hammouri was officially notified of the Israeli Minister of Interior’s intention to revoke his Jerusalem residency and was asked to challenge this intention by a written submission within 30 days, which would later be examined in order to issue a final decision on his residency status.
On 18 October 2021, the Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked officially notified 36-year-old Palestinian-French human rights defender Salah Hammouri of the revocation of his permanent residency status in Jerusalem based on a "breach of allegiance to the State of Israel." This decision comes after being approved by the Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and Minister of Justice Gideon Sa'ar. The initiation of his residency revocation and forced deportation, pursuant to Amendment No. 30 to the Entry into Israel Law of 1952, comes on the heels of the Israeli apartheid regime's targeted harassment campaign against Salah Hammouri, a vocal Palestinian human rights advocate, a long-time employee at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, and former prisoner.
In communicating the decision to move forward with residency revocation on the basis of "breach of allegiance," the Minister of Interior cites intentionally vague and broad allegations of "terroristic activities" and/or affiliation with "terrorist entities" based on withheld "secret information" withheld. The withholding of "secret information" mirrors the Israeli occupation's administrative detention practices, in stark violation of fair trial standards, which place Palestinians under indefinite detention based on secret material that cannot be disclosed to the detainees or their lawyers. To this end, she further cites recommendations based on his past history of arrests—most of which were under administrative detention, without charge or trial. Notably, the Ministry explicitly alludes to the notable escalation of permanent residency revocation of Palestinian Jerusalemites for "breach of allegiance," as exemplified by the case of Salah Hammouri, by stating that the decision was necessary "to deter others from breaching allegiance to the State of Israel."
Salah Hammouri's Previous Arrests
On 30 June 2020, Salah was arrested near Sheikh Jarrah health center while he was testing for COVID-19 in preparation to visit his wife and son in France. He was taken to Al Mascobiyyeh for interrogation. A request to extend his detention was approved for additional eight days under the pretext of further investigations. Later, he was released under a number of conditions on 7 July 2020, including an already paid bail of 2,000 NIS, an additional 1000 NIS guarantee, and an order to stop communication with a number of people for 90 days (the list of concerned persons has not yet been shared with him).
Arrested while alone
Dozens of Israeli soldiers raided Salah Hammouri’s house in Kufr Aqab on 23 August 2017. Salah was alone during the raid as he has been living by himself since his pregnant wife was deported to France three years ago. The IOF took him directly to Moskobiyyeh interrogation center without giving him the chance to let his family know that he had been arrested. Salah’s neighbor contacted his family, who then informed his wife, Elsa in France.
Salah is a French-Palestinian; however, his French nationality did not stop the occupation forces from repeatedly arresting and targeting him. His first arrest was in 2001 for five months when he was only 16 years old.
Following this, at the age of 20, he spent five months in jail under administrative detention in 2004. His third arrest was in 2005 when he was imprisoned for seven years. The French consulate intervened on this particular occasion and attempted to reach an agreement to release Salah. These negotiations resulted in Salah being offered a deal that would require him to leave for France for a period of ten years, with the ability to return to Jerusalem after that period in exchange for his immediate release. Salah rejected the deal and refused to be treated differently from any other Palestinian.
His lawyer tried to convince him that there was a possibility to reduce the deportation period to five years, but he refused and decided to stay in prison, even if it meant receiving a ten-year sentence.
After rejecting the deal, Salah received a 7-year sentence. During the last few months of his seven-year sentence, Salah was released as part of the prisoner exchange deal in 2011. Salah had three months of his sentence left to serve, which was a strategy of the occupation authorities where they chose prisoners that had nearly completed their sentences.
Targeting Salah Hammouri's Family and his Wife, Elsa’s Deportation to France
Since 2011, the occupation forces have not allowed Salah to live in peace. They continued to target him even after he enrolled in university and started to regain control of his life. Salah graduated from law school and immediately enrolled in graduate school to complete a master’s degree in human rights.
During this period, he got married to Elsa Lefort, a French woman who came to live with him in Palestine.
Persecution of Salah continued even after he got married, with the occupation continually placing barriers on his life. They gave Elsa a visitor’s visa for six months only and kept delaying a response to the Family reunification application Salah submitted in order for his wife to be able to live in Palestine. Ever since their marriage in 2014, the occupation authorities refused to renew Elsa’s visa. As a result, she was not able to leave and visit her family out of fear of not being able to return to Palestine.
Elsa attempted to renew her visa many times with no luck. The Israeli occupation authorities answered her request by saying that Salah was released within a prisoners’ exchange deal, which means he is blacklisted in all of the departments affiliated with the Israeli government.
In 2015, Elsa was able to get a one-year visa through her work at the French consulate in Jerusalem. Because of that, Salah and Elsa decided to travel to France to visit her family before she gave birth to their first son. However, when she returned on 5/1/2016, she was held at the airport for hours before being told that she is denied entry and had to go back to France. Salah and Elsa appealed this decision immediately, and the hearing was set for the next morning.
Elsa was detained in a room at the airport until the hearing. She was denied the ability to contact her husband or any of her family members, all of her belongings were confiscated, and she was not given any medical attention despite being pregnant.
The judge rejected the appeal the next morning, and Elsa was deported to France two days later. Salah’s family reunification request was also denied at the same time.
Elsa has been denied entry to Palestine ever since, erasing the possibility of her, Salah, and their newborn living a normal life as a family. Their son was born in France and because of their inability to live in Palestine, Salah has been traveling to Paris every three months to spend some time with his family. Following these visits, he returns home to live alone, far from his one-year-old son and wife. Elsa continues to wait for the day when she will be able to come back and live with her husband and son as a normal family.
Restriction of Movement
While Salah and Elsa were trying every means possible to reunite, the Israeli occupation authorities issued an order against Salah, which stated that he could not, under any circumstances, enter the West Bank. Such an order is issued by the area commander of the Israeli forces and falls under the “emergency measures” rule. This means that the occupation forces do not have to explain or give any reasons for their decision.
Salah was banned from entering the West Bank for six months (from March 2015 - September 2015). However, the ban was renewed twice. This greatly impeded his ability to complete his degree at Al-Quds University and stopped him from completing his practical training to become a lawyer. Additionally, the ban did not only obstruct Salah’s academic and professional career, it also destroyed his social life. He was unable to participate in any social events with friends and family members, such as weddings and graduations. Salah was also banned from going to his workplace in Ramallah or even visiting his family’s home in Al Ram neighborhood, which lies directly on the apartheid wall. The ban lasted for a year and a half without explanation.
Salah’s Family Awaits
Salah is a French-Palestinian (holder of a Jerusalem ID) and is the oldest son of his Palestinian father and a French mother. He has a brother (Amir) and a sister (Caroline). Salah and Elsa got married in 2014; they have a one and half year old son. His wife and son live in France. He had plans to visit them at the end of august, but, unfortunately, he was arrested before being able to travel.
Salah’s life is one of constant hardship. His detention only increased the difficulty due to his not being able to see his wife and son. Now, he is also incapable of calling them and seeing them in court or during prison visits. His son was used to at least speaking to his father every day. Now, faced with months of no interaction, he doesn’t understand his father’s absence. However, he makes sure to kiss his father’s photo every night and draws pictures to send to the prison.
Elsa is currently leading a campaign in France calling for the French authorities to intervene and attain Salah’s release. She has also participated in many activities and events to bring attention to Salah’s case and urge the government to intervene. For Elsa, the hardest part of Salah’s detention is explaining it to their son.
Since Salah’s arrest, I was able to talk to any official party or public political figures and even the president himself without any trouble, but the only moment I lose the ability to speak or act is when our son hold the phone and says “Papa”, how can I tell him that I can’t call his father. How do I explain to him why his father is not calling him five times a day. I always tell him that his dad loves him, sends him his love, and kisses but he can’t talk right now. But I never know what he thinks about that.
Elsa added that their son also kisses his father’s posters on the streets every time they walk by one.
Inconsistencies from the court
Salah was arrested on 23 August 2017, and his detention extension hearing was held on the same day with a decision to extend his detention for five additional days to examine his confiscated devices. Salah had another detention extension hearing on 27 August 2017. During this hearing, the prosecution failed to present a list of charges against Salah. As a result, the judge decided to release him under a number of conditions, including house arrest for ten days in a town called Reineh near Nazareth, a ban from entering Jerusalem for 90 days, and a travel ban for three months, and a 10,000 NIS bail. This court decision was issued, and Salah’s father went to pay his bail immediately after the hearing ended. However, before they were able to finish all of the procedures, the prosecution issued a six-month administrative detention order against Salah.
An order confirmation hearing was held. The defense lawyer made arguments on the grounds of Salah's ongoing and unjustified targeting since his release at the end of 2012. He explained that the occupation authorities justified every decision and order against Salah by saying that he was released in “Shalit’s” prisoners exchange deal without even mentioning that he only had three months of his sentence remaining. He suggested that Salah finish his previous sentence (three months) instead of administrative detention. They were hopeful that this could potentially end Salah's continuous targeting and violations based on the claim that he is blacklisted for having been released as part of the “Shalit exchange deal.”
The District Court’s judge issued a decision that canceled Salah’s AD order and returned the remaining period of his previous sentence. However, the prosecution appealed the judge’s decision. The High Court held the hearing, which accepted the appeal, canceled the decision, and returned the administrative detention order.
The second confirmation hearing was held on 17 September 2017. Salah’s lawyer confirmed that his continuous targeting of Salah is unjustified and that he believed that the Israeli intelligence knew about his travel date (30 August 2017) and rushed to arrest him.
He added that the prosecution used his previous sentence and the fact that he was released in a prisoners’ exchange deal, to prove to the court that he constitutes a threat. His lawyer also explained that the prosecution’s claims that they have tried other methods to neutralize the apparent security threat, which included West Bank entry bans, were unfounded. He claimed that these were only strategic methods to control Salah and obstruct his academic, professional and social life.
As for the subject of administrative detention, the lawyer explained that Salah was arrested on 23 August 2017 and was only superficially interrogated twice, meaning that he was not asked about the charges or events they claimed he was a part of. They only asked him ordinary questions about his job, studies, and family. It should be mentioned that Salah practiced his right to remain silent during the interrogation. They kept asking him about some devices they confiscated from his home without specifying what they were talking about or even showing him.
After actually agreeing to cancel the administrative detention order and restore the remaining period of the previous sentence, the judge decided to re-issue the administrative detention order and confirm it for 6 months. The judge stated that after reviewing the classified material, he concluded that there is a development in Salah’s activities and that he has an impact on Jerusalem and the West Bank. Adding that his presence in the area may cause a significant security threat.
The Israeli occupation authorities use administrative detention against Jerusalemites extensively and without any clear reason. Salah's file did not need to issue an administrative detention order since his activity, according to the prosecution's claim, is restricted to the West Bank and Jerusalem. Therefore, they would have been able to deport him to a distant area such as Haifa (for example). In addition, the court did not reveal any information regarding the arrest, interrogation, or the reasons behind them. This confirms the court hearings did not meet the international standard of due process and did not grant the detainee or his lawyer their right to review the charges and build a proper defense.
Salah’s file proves that the occupation authorities are monitoring Salah. and harassing him and his family as a means to pressure him in every way possible without any legal basis. This is evident in the vastly different sentences that have been handed down to him during this current imprisonment.
Salah’s administrative detention order is arbitrary by all standards; it is not based on any legal grounds, genuine information or reason. The authorities would have simply charged him if there had been a genuine legal basis. The goal is thus to deny him his liberty, prevent him from having any human connections with his family, and tighten the screws with the aim of pushing him to move to France.
Salah's arrest at this particular time prevented him from obtaining the proper certification to become a practicing lawyer, which he was supposed to obtain officially after taking the necessary oath at the end of September. He was also prevented from completing his higher education to acquire a second degree in law. Most importantly, he was denied time with his wife and son, which is something truly precious to him.
Salah Hamouri is currently held at Al-Naqab prison. He waits for family visits to see his parents and siblings and is struggling to endure the pain of not being able to see his wife and son.
He is currently banned from practicing his mission as a human rights defender; he is denied his right to be a father and a husband and to live normally. Salah Hamouri chooses to stay in his home country and live in Jerusalem despite all the suffering, even if it means his imprisonment, over living freely and comfortably away from his home, family, and friends.
 On 10 March 2022, the Israeli military commander issued a four-month administrative detention order, however, later on 13 March 2020, Salah’s legal counsel was notified that the administrative detention order was faultily dated and corrected the duration of the order to three months instead of four months.
 Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, “‘Our Decision is Freedom…No to Administrative Detention’: Palestinian Administrative Detainees Declare Boycott of Israeli Military Courts” 15 February 2022, https://www.addameer.org/index.php/news/4662#_ftn1
 “Bosta” transfers are described by Palestinians as a brutal trip in hell. The prisoners and detainees are subject to extensive, repeated dehumanizing searches before each stop. “Bosta” is a vehicle cell made out of metal with narrow double seats and disproportionate measurements, forcing prisoners into an angled seating position for lack of appropriate space. Palestinian prisoners and detainees face degrading conditions during transport, as well as, physical strain. The van has an air condition that is extremely cold and no ventilation. A trip could take up to 10-15 hours in that position.