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UN: Israeli deportation order against French-Palestinian activist could constitute war crime

Salah Hammouri, French-Palestinian lawyer and field researcher at Palestinian NGO "Addameer (Conscience) for Prisoner Support and Human Rights", which supports political prisoners detained in Israel and in Palestinian prisons, and user of one of six devices reportedly hacked with NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, speaks before cameras at the offices of al-Haq Centre for Applied International Law in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on November 8, 2021. - An investigation by a European rights group published on November 8 found that Israeli-made Pegasus spyware was used to hack the phones of staff of Palestinian civil society groups targeted by Israel. The revelations by Frontline Defenders -- confirmed by Amnesty International and the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab -- mark the latest development in the widening controversy surrounding six prominent Palestinian groups designated as "terrorist" organisations by Israel's defence ministry last month. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI / AFP) (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images)
Salah Hammouri, French-Palestinian lawyer and field researcher at Palestinian NGO 'Addameer' on November 8, 2021 [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel's decision to deport French-Palestinian human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri to France against his will may constitute a war crime under the Geneva Convention, UN experts said Friday, reports Anadolu Agency.

Israel reaffirmed the revocation of Hammouri's permanent residency in Jerusalem on November 30.

Authorities said Hammouri would be deported December 4 to France because of his alleged "breach of allegiance to the State of Israel" and based on secret evidence.

"Such unilateral, arbitrary measures taken by Israeli authorities in retaliation against Mr. Hammouri as a human rights defender violate every principle and the very spirit of international law," said experts.

The experts are Francesca Albanese, special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, special rapporteur on the protection of human rights while countering terrorism.

READ: Israel takes punitive measures against Jerusalemite hunger striker

Special rapporteurs are part of the Human Rights Council's Special Procedures, the largest body of independent UN human rights experts.

The deportation of protected persons from an occupied territory is prohibited under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, said experts.

"These measures set an extremely dangerous precedent for all Palestinians in Jerusalem. The international community must not remain silent and quietly watch this umpteenth violation," they said.

Hammouri is a human rights lawyer known for advocating for the rights of prisoners, including torture survivors.

Salah Hamouri behind Israei bars - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Salah Hammouri behind Israeli bars – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

He works with the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association – an internationally respected human rights organisation – and the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture grantee.

Israel designated Addameer and other Palestinian civil society organisations as "terrorist" and "unlawful" in October 2021.

Hammouri was placed in administrative detention on March 7 without charge or trial.

Since July, Hammouri has been detained at a high-security prison under degrading conditions as a form of punishment after he engaged in a hunger strike and appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron to urge Israel to end his detention.

Experts said Hammouri was at risk of expulsion due to his alleged involvement in "terrorist activities" and "breach of allegiance" to Israel.

The allegations are based on secret information that he cannot challenge.

READ: Israel renews detention of human rights defender held without charge

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