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Salah Hamouri – Join the call for Justice

This is the second in the Palestine Solidarity Alliance’s monthly series of profiles on Palestinian Political Prisoners

Salah Hamouri is a French-Palestinian human rights lawyer who has been persecuted by the Israeli authorities for most of his life and has been repeatedly placed under a regime of administrative detention. The Justice For Salah campaign is a coordinated effort by various Palestinian and international human rights organisations to end his persecution. Besides being subjected to Israel’s infamous system of arbitrary administrative detention, he has also faced travel bans, phone tapping, and other violent transgressions. Hamouri is currently imprisoned without charge or trial. To compound the ordeal, Hamouri’s lawyers are barred from seeing any supposed evidence used to detain him. Hamouri has been banned from seeing his wife or children, and he risks being deported from Jerusalem.

The persecution of Salah Hamouri is noted to be part of a draconian effort by the Israeli regime to clamp down on resistance and dissent. Since 2020, Hamouri’s permanent resident status has been under threat of revocation. Based on ‘secret evidence’, Hamouri’s “breach of allegiance” to the State of Israel has been cited as the grounds of this forcible transfer.



If deported, his case could set a precedent that allows Israel to expel several other Palestinian Jerusalemites from their land. The Justice for Salah campaign is a matter of resistance – not only against the persecution of one individual, but against the forced deportation of any Palestinian resident of Jerusalem. This is something which Salah has fought against his entire life.

Since his birth in 1985, Salah Hamouri’s lived experience has been shaped by daily violence and brutality at the hands of Israeli colonisation and occupation. At the tender age of four, Salah witnessed his closest uncle, Haitham, being dragged from his home and violently arrested by Israeli occupation forces. Salah reports being unable to recognise his uncle between different prison visits, as the cruelty of the Israeli carceral system left its mark on his Uncle’s appearance.

Salah’s journey of resistance against Israeli occupation has spanned decades. His resolve and determination has turned him into a symbol of anti-colonial struggle in Jerusalem and around the world. He has been a prominent activist since he was a teenager, mobilising and protesting amongst thousands of others in the Second Intifada.

At fifteen, Salah was shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces. Salah continued to face violent repression throughout his teenage life. By the time he was twenty, he was arrested for the third time by the occupation forces and sentenced to seven years in prison. For most people, this type of experience would demoralise their quest for freedom and will to resist, but this is not the case for Salah Hamouri.

Following his release in 2011, Hamouri attended law school and began a career as a lawyer and human rights defender. The radical spirit that spurred him to seek justice in his youth has blossomed in adulthood. “I am continuing with my struggle because I want all Palestinians to live with freedom and dignity, and I know this will not come without a fight, without sacrifice on the part of those willing to take a stand.”

Salah’s commitment to taking a stand has come at an immense cost to him and his family. In 2016, Salah’s pregnant wife, Elsa, was banned from entering the Occupied territories. She has been unable to return since. Salah must leave the territories to see his wife and children, but even this has been prevented on numerous occasions. He was detained under administrative detention for thirteen months in 2018 and arrested again in 2020. The last time he saw his family was at the birth of his daughter in April 2021. His six-year-old son is under a lot of stress and has been asking several questions about his father, unsure when next he will be able to see him. His daughter hardly knows him.

Salah’s imprisonment has exacerbated this harsh separation significantly. The Hamouri family had grown accustomed to communicating through video calls but have been unable to communicate with him since his detention. Salah’s wife has pleaded with the French authorities for support, in at least arranging a phone call to him. This request has as yet not been heeded. His family has also asked for a visit permit, but again they were refused permission.

Salah’s mother has commented on how life under administrative detention is akin to “psychological torture for prisoners and their families.” The detention orders can be renewed at any time, and individuals are given no notice of its outcome until the very last moment. For the Hamouri family, being unable to imagine a future with any semblance of certainty has been a source of grave distress.

Despite the severity of repression against Hamouri and his family, the Justice for Salah campaign has continued to fight against his persecution. Together with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Ligue des droits de l’homme (LDH), Hamouri has filed a criminal complaint against the Israeli company, NSO, for illegally infiltrating his phone. NSO manufactures the infamous Pegasus spyware software, which has been used to maliciously target activists, politicians, and journalists in Israel and across the world. This is particularly invasive against Salah, who cannot communicate with his family without a phone, and whose legal career depends on the protection of his clients’ privacy.

The Justice for Salah Campaign has also filed a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Herein, the campaign alleges that Israel’s crimes of apartheid and war crimes are exemplified in its persecution of Salah Hamouri. Israel has subjected Hamouri to forcible removal, arbitrary prolonged detention without charge; and denied his rights to family, freedom of movement and freedom of association.

While these violations are committed daily against Palestinians in Jerusalem, they also represent new tactics used by the State of Israel to reduce the Palestinian population and institutionalise its regime of racial domination and subjugation. The use of secret evidence to revoke Palestinians’ residency status would place another layer of insecurity to Palestinians living in Jerusalem. Salah Hamouri’s family, like so many others, have continued to resist despite being separated, exiled, surveilled, and imprisoned. It remains a question of key interest to see whether the international community and the ICC can be mobilised to defend their rights.

The Palestine Solidarity Alliance urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to support all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom, for their own lives and for the Palestinian people. They are confronting the system of Israeli oppression with their lives, to bring the system of administrative detention to an end. Take these actions below to support the struggle for liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea!

Join the Social Media Campaign!

There is a growing social media campaign to #FreeThemAll. Use these hashtags to post on Twitter and Instagram. Take action and join the social media outrage and break the isolation imposed upon Political Prisoners by the Israeli occupation! Follow the Instagram accounts of their campaigns

Follow the justice for salah campaign online:

Protest in your city or country!

Together with the Palestine Solidarity Organisations in your area join protest actions and campaigns to — confront, isolate and besiege the Israeli embassy and Zionist linked institutions and companies. Or take to the streets in your neighborhood, on your campus or at a government building in your area. Make it clear that the people are with Palestine!

Boycott Israel!

The international Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions campaign is an important tool to isolate Apartheid Israel. Become a campaign for an Apartheid Free Zone in your area by ensuring that all Israel products and corporates complicit with Israel are identified, labeled and boycotted including Clover, Coke Cola, HP, G4S, Puma, Teva and others, By participating in the boycott of Israel, you can directly help the demise of the economy of settler colonialism.

Mahfouz Raffee is a researcher and activist with the Palestine Solidarity Alliance. He is presently engaged in campaigns in support of Palestinian students, academics, and political prisoners – drawing links between past and present decolonial movements in Africa and Palestine.