- In March 2005, French/Palestinian Hamouri was arrested,
tortured and imprisoned for allegedly co-conspiring with Popular Front
for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) members to assassinate Rabbi Ovadia
Yosef, ultra-Orthodox Shas party's spiritual leader and former Israeli
Chief Rabbi. At age 91, he's very much alive as of January 25, 2011, Israel
National News saying he recently visited President Shimon Peres "in
a 'shiva' call," offering condolences for his wife's recent passing.
- Based on secret Israeli intelligence, no proof, Hamouri
was sentenced to seven years in prison after accepting a plea bargain.
Over a two-year period, an Israeli military court convened over 20 times
on his case. According to Claude Lefort, a pro-Palestinian activist and
president of France's AFD support committee, judges (on April 14, 2008)
told him to plead guilty or face 14 years in prison. Though innocent of
all charges, his lawyer, Leah Tsemel, advised him to do it after he initially
denied all charges.
- In October 2008, a National Committee to support him
was established, co-chaired by Hind Khoury and Stephane Hessel. Lefort
acts as coordinator. In May 2009, Hamouri was made an honorary town of
Grigny citizen, and the mayor of Bourg-en-Bresse supports him. In addition,
other French cities formed committees on his behalf, declaring him a political
prisoner, an innocent man convicted without proof.
- In early 2009, Israel denied his request for early release
on good behavior. On June 8, 2009, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid headlined,
"France to Israel: Free man who plotted attack on Ovadia Yosef,"
- "French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister
Bernard Kouchner appealed to Israel for clemency...The unusual request
was made after pro-Palestinian groups lobbied" for him, comparing
his captivity to IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas as a prisoner
of war. At the time, a Netanyahu spokesman said legal aspects were being
reviewed. A response would follow. As of now, he's still imprisoned.
- Hamouri's Background
- On December 3, 2008, the web site Liberte Pour Salah
provided biographical and other information. Aged 25, he was born in Jerusalem.
His father, Hassan, is a local restaurateur. His mother, Denise, is a Bourg-en-Bresse
native. Salah holds a French passport, registered at Jerusalem's Consulate
General of France.
- Israeli harassment way predated his current imprisonment.
It began on September 30, 2001 when he was arrested, isolated for two months
in Jerusalem's Moskobieh interrogation center despite being aged 16 at
the time, then imprisoned for five months for posting "anti-Israeli
propaganda" at school.
- In February 2004, he was again baselessly arrested in
Bethlehem, then held in administrative detention for four months. On March
13, 2005, his current confinement began, now a decade-long ordeal. His
scheduled release date is November 21, 2011, but anything is possible
in Israeli custody, especially for liberation activists.
- Numerous past articles discussed Palestinian political
prisoners, several accessed through the following links:
- Though illegal (with no allowed exceptions) under international
law and Section 277 of Israel's 1977 Penal Law, most Palestinians detained,
including children, are tortured, often brutally despite being innocent.
- Incarceration conditions for all detainees are horrific,
especially for those held in isolation. If sustained long enough, it destroys
the human spirit, psyche, mind and body, producing symptoms ranging from
severe anxiety, nightmares and confusion to profound despair, paranoia
and suicidal thoughts.
- As a political weapon, Israel imprisons, tortures and
isolates thousands of Palestinians, punishing them for being Muslims under
Jewish occupation, especially liberation advocates. Moreover, according
to the Addameer Prisoners' Support and Human Rights Association, Israeli
authorities detained over 650,000 Palestinians since 1967, including around
40% of all males. Anyone, anytime can be arrested, charged, imprisoned
with or without charges. Activists are especially targeted, subject to
repeated harassment and arrests like Hamoudi.
- Besides freely used torture, imprisonment involves:
- -- severe overcrowding;
- -- poor ventilation and sanitation;
- -- no change of clothes or adequate amounts;
- -- wooden planks with thin mattresses for beds, some
infested with vermin; blankets are often torn, filthy and inadequate; hot
water is rare and soap is rationed;
- -- threadbare tents at the Negev Ketziot military detention
camp, exposing detainees to extreme weather conditions, and in summer,
to vermin, insects, scorpions, parasites, rats, and other reptiles;
- -- tents at Megiddo and Ofer besides its oil-soiled hangers;
- -- isolation for many in tiny, poorly ventilated confinement
with no visitation rights or contact with counsel, family members or other
- -- no access to personal cleanliness and hygiene, including
restricted facilities, forcing prisoners to urinate in bottles in their
- -- inadequate food in terms of quality, quantity, and
- -- poor medical care, including lack of specialized personnel,
mental health treatment, and denial of needed medicines and equipment;
as a result, many suffer ill health; doctors are also pressured to deny
proper treatment, some later admitting it;
- -- extreme psychological pressure to break detainees'
- -- widespread use of torture, abuse, cruel and degrading
- -- women and children treated like men;
- -- NGOs like Physicians for Human Rights - Israel and
the ICRC deterred from providing aid; and for all detainees
- -- imposed conditions linking visits:
- "with the overall security situation, requiring
that prisoners must not be security prisoners and that persons applying
for visits must not have a security record, requiring that visitors be
first-degree relatives and that brothers or sons applying for visits must
be under the age of 18."
- Israel treats Palestinians brutally, subjecting them
to prohibited treatment under international law, including torture. Hamouri
is no exception, despite strong support (including from the French Jewish
Union for Peace and hundreds of individuals globally) as well as diplomatic
efforts to free him.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and
Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.