France ‘condemns’ Israel’s expulsion of French-Palestinian rights lawyer

PARIS (Agencies): France on Sunday condemned Israel’s expulsion of French-Palestinian human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri, who had been held in Israeli prisons without charge since March accused of security offenses.

Hamouri arrived in Paris on Sunday morning, an AFP correspondent said, where he was welcomed by his wife Elsa, politicians, NGO representatives and supporters at the French capital’s Charles de Gaulle airport.

“We condemn today the Israeli authorities’ decision, against the law, to expel Salah Hamouri to France,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

Israel’s interior ministry said earlier on Sunday Hamouri was deported “following Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked’s decision to withdraw his residency status.”

Hamouri, 37, had been held under a controversial practice known as administrative detention, which allows suspects to be detained for renewable periods of up to six months.

The supporters said Hamouri’s deportation from his birthplace by an “occupying power” was illegal.

The French foreign ministry said Paris had been “fully mobilized, including at the highest level of the state, to ensure Salah Hamouri’s rights are respected, that he benefits from all possible assistance and that he can lead a normal life in Jerusalem, where he was born, resides and wishes to live.”

“France also took several steps to communicate to the Israeli authorities in the clearest way its opposition to this expulsion of a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, an occupied territory under the Fourth Geneva Convention,” it added.

On his arrival, his supporters unfurled a banner saying “Welcome Salah” and some carried Palestinian flags. Around a dozen police officers were also at the airport.

“It’s a happy day for a family reunited but for the Palestinian people, it’s a sad day,” Amnesty International’s France chief, Jean-Claude Samouiller, said.

He described the expulsion as a “crime of apartheid.”