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Israel frees Franco-Israeli lawyer after 13 months without trial

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Salah Hamuri embraces his father Hassan at their home in the village of Dahyat al-Barid near Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, after being released AFP

Israel has released Franco-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamuri after holding him for 13 months without trial on unspecified allegations. His case had been taken up left-wingers in France, with some local councils displaying banners demanding his release.


Hamuri, 33, was freed at Jerusalem police headquarters on Sunday after being brought from a prison in the southern Negev desert.

He has been forbidden from taking part in demonstrations or celebrations of his release over the next 30 days and had to post a bond of 3,000 shekels (710 euros), his attorney Mahmud Hassan told the AFP news agency.

Hamuri was arrested in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem on 23 August 2017 and interned under what Israel calls administrative detention, which allows detention without trial for renewable six-month periods.

Neither suspects nor their lawyers are informed of the reasons for arrests.

Hamuri said he had not been in contact with his wife and son, who live in France, during his detention, adding that Israel had refused to give his wife a visa.

The Israeli authorities have accused him of belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel, the United States and the European Union list as a terrorist group.

Although he pleaded guilty to the charge in 2005, he has since denied it, according to his wife.

Support in France

Hamouri was born in east Jerusalem to a French mother and a Palestinian father.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed his case several times with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the French foreign ministry.

Pro-Palestinian groups and left-wing organisations in France, including the Communist Party, have campaigned for his release and local councils, such as those of Grigny, Bobigny and Bourg-en-Bresse, have supported the call, although Paris city council rejected a call to make him an honorary citizen.

Imprisoned several times

He was first arrested at the age of 16 in 2001, according to Palestinian prisoner support NGO Addameer, which employed him as a field researcher.

He was interned without trial for another five-month stretch in 2004, it said, then arrested again in 2005.

An Israeli court then found him guilty of plotting to assassinate Ovadia Yossef, a prominent Israeli rabbi and spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas political party.

Hamuri was released in December 2011 as part of a swap of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit, a soldier held captive in Gaza for more than five years.

He has always denied that accusation.

Addameer says more than 5,500 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli jails, including about 450 in administrative detention.