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Israel transfers Palestinian-French lawyer to high-risk 'isolation' prison for writing to Macron

Salah Hammouri, Palestinian-French lawyer, is incarcerated in Israeli prisons. (Photo via Wafa)

The Israeli regime has transferred Palestinian-French human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri to a higher-risk isolation prison facility following his recent letter to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Hammouri was classified as a prisoner “with a high degree of danger” and transferred to an Israeli isolation prison facility called “Hadarim” as a punishment for writing to the French president, Palestine's official Wafa news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the Justice for Salah Campaign.

“In the past 10 days, the Israeli occupation prison administration classified HRD and lawyer Salah Hammouri as ‘Sagav’, which means a prisoner with a high degree of danger. This entails excessive harassment with the use of hand- and foot cuffs in addition to repeated night raids to the prisoner’s cell where forces turn everything upside-down,” the campaign said in a statement.

The statement added that the Israeli regime had taken the punitive measure after Salah’s letter to Macron, “addressing him as a fellow French citizen, reminding him of his obligations as head of state to ensure his immediate release and end of persecution.”

“Arbitrary classification and transfer are yet another measure of persecution against Salah and against anyone who tries to get their sounds heard,” the statement stated.

Hammouri, 37, was arrested in March 2017. An Israeli military court sentenced him to administrative detention for defending Palestinian rights and accused him of endangering "security in the region."

He has spent nearly nine years in Israeli jails in separate arrests. Hammouri was denied entry into the occupied city of West Bank for more than two years.

In November 2021, the Irish-based rights organization Front Line Defenders, also known as the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, said in a report that six devices used by Palestinian rights activists “were hacked with NSO Group's Pegasus spyware.” Hammouri was one of the six targeted individuals.

In April, Hammouri and rights groups filed a complaint in France against surveillance firm NSO Group for having "illegally infiltrated" his mobile phone.

Earlier last month, Israel extended the detention of the Palestinian lawyer for 3 more months, just one day before his planned release, pressing ahead with its so-called policy of administrative detention to keep Palestinians behind bars.

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention. Some prisoners have been held without a charge for up to 11 years.

Palestinians and human rights groups say "administrative detention" violates the right to due process since the evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted.

The detention takes place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as secret evidence.

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