Tag Archives: Israel

‘They beat me on my breasts and fondled me. Britain must stop funding Palestinian security thugs’


Human rights lawyer Diala Ayesh says she has been detained, beaten and sexually assaulted since becoming a target for PA forces

Sitting in her office in downtown Ramallah, Diala Ayesh chain smokes.

Her former job at Lawyers for Justice — an NGO that fights human rights abuse by the Palestinian Authority — has made her a target for the PA security forces, even though she now runs her own legal practice. She can never relax.

Over the years, the 24-year-old human rights lawyer has been detained, beaten and sexually assaulted, she tells the JC, leaving “a profound psychological impact”.

Even when she has been released, the harassment hasn’t stopped. She has been hounded on social media by trolls who claim she is a prostitute and reveal her whereabouts. She lifts her cigarette and takes a deep drag.

“It has been a terrible set of experiences,” she says through the smoke. “They were attacking my profession, lying and defaming me. At the same time, my clients have been through much worse.”

In July last year, Ms Ayesh was arrested during a crackdown following the brutal murder of her friend, human rights campaigner Nizar Banat, by the Palestinian security services. It was the beginning of hell.

“There were so many security men, Ramallah was like a military camp,” she recalls. “I was on my way to my office when I heard that a friend had been arrested. I said to my colleagues, let’s go to show our support, and I will support them as a lawyer.”

Together with a group of activists, lawyers, journalists and other professionals, she headed to the police headquarters in east Ramallah and stood defiantly outside. Then, she says, the onslaught came.

“They attacked the women, pulling our hair, starting with a doctor and a senior engineer,” she says.

“I wanted to go home but one of the security men called me by name, saying ‘Diala, if you try to go I will pepper spray you in the face’. I saw my friends running and started running too, but he chased me.

“His footsteps were behind me. I can still hear the sound of them today. And then he was on me, hitting me on my buttocks and my breasts, hitting me and fondling me, touching me intimately. I told him to stop, but it carried on.”




https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2021/07/05/l-autorite-palestinienne-intensifie-sa-repression-en-cisjordanie_6087002_3210.html (FRANCAIS)

Palestine/Israel: Palestinian lawyers hold rare protest against Abbas’s ‘rule by decree’


Hundreds of Palestinian lawyers held a rare street protest Monday against what they described as the Palestinian Authority’s “rule by decree”, condemning president Mahmud Abbas for governing without a parliament.

The Palestinian Legislative Council — created under the Oslo Peace Accords with Israel — has been inactive since 2007, meaning Abbas has led without a functioning parliament for nearly all of his tenure as president.

But a new leadership at the Palestinian Bar Association has sought to pressure the PA.

The association’s president, Suheil Ashour, told AFP at the protest that his body would stand firm against legislation delivered by presidential decree that curbed Palestinian “rights and freedoms”.

“Our demand is either to stop their implementation now or to cancel” a raft of restrictive laws, said Ashour, who pushed for reforms when he was elected association president earlier this year.

The draft Palestinian constitution allows for presidential decrees “if necessary”, in cases where the PLC cannot act, but lawyers said Abbas has gone too far.

Riot police prevented the demonstrators, clad in their black robes, from marching to the nearby office of prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

Farhan Abu Aisha, a protester, accused Abbas of making decisions “under the cover of darkness”.

“The legislative authority is absent in Palestine, and the judicial authority is completely marginalised,” he said.







https://fr.timesofisrael.com/cisjordanie-manifestation-davocats-palestiniens-contre-les-decrets-dabbas/ (FRANCAIS)




Top Israeli rights lawyer deplores ‘threat’ from govt


A top Israeli human rights lawyer went public Monday with an alleged “threat” from the country’s defence ministry over his work for a Palestinian NGO labelled a terrorist group by the state.

Attorney Michael Sfard represents Al Haq, one of six Palestinian organisations hit with a “terrorist” designation by Israel in October.

Nine European governments said last week they will maintain cooperation with the NGOs, on the grounds that “no substantial information” had been presented to support the designations.

Sfard published a letter on Monday from a defence ministry lawyer, which referred to him receiving fees from “terrorist organisations”.

“We hereby draw your attention to the provisions of Section 32(d)(1) of the Law concerning the legal avenues for transactions in terrorist property,” said the letter, dated July 14, which was seen by AFP.

In a written response, Sfard said the letter suggested he could face seven years in prison for representing Al Haq.

He interpreted it as “a governmental threat made against a lawyer engaging in entirely legal work”.

The letter came days before Sfard and other lawyers are due to appeal the designation of three of the NGOs.









https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1306034/un-avocat-des-droits-humains-se-dit-menace-par-le-gouvernement.html (FRANCAIS)

Thai democracy activists targeted by Pegasus spyware: report


Dozens of Thai democracy activists were targeted by the controversial Israeli spyware known as Pegasus during the height of intense anti-government protests, according to an international digital rights group report.

Massive demonstrations engulfed Thailand’s capital Bangkok two years ago as thousands called for greater civil freedoms, as well as a loosening of the strict lese-majeste laws that prevent any criticism of the monarchy.

The report by Canadian cybersecurity watchdog Citizen Lab in partnership with Thai groups iLaw and DigitalReach, identified some 30 activists, academics, lawyers and NGO workers — mostly connected to civil rights organisations — whose mobile devices were affected.

“The infections occurred from October 2020 to November 2021, coinciding with a period of widespread pro-democracy protests, and predominantly targeted key figures in the pro-democracy movement,” the report stated.

Pegasus software, created by Israeli firm NSO Group, can extract data and activate cameras or microphones once it has successfully infiltrated a mobile device.

The report stops short of saying definitively who was behind the use of the spyware, though it notes that NSO Group says they only sell the technology to governments.

In its own executive summary of the findings the Thai NGO iLaw said: “It can be circumstantially concluded that the use of Pegasus against dissidents would be of significant benefit to the Thai government.”

Among those targeted, Citizen Lab said, were the lese majeste lawyer Arnon Nampa, protest leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul and activist Jatupat Boonpattararaksa.








https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/tailandia-pegasus_activistas-prodemocracia-en-tailandia-fueron-espiados-con-el-programa-pegasus/47760622 (ESPANOL)

https://www.amnesty.nl/actueel/thailand-pegasus-spyware-gevonden-op-telefoons-van-dissidenten (NEDERLANDS)

https://www.secnews.gr/412549/tailandoi-aktivistes-paraviastikan-pegasus-nso-group/ (GREEK)

https://www.swissinfo.ch/chi/%E6%B3%B0%E5%9B%BD%E6%B0%91%E8%BF%90%E4%BA%BA%E5%A3%AB%E9%81%AD%E9%97%B4%E8%B0%8D%E8%BD%AF%E4%BD%93%E4%BE%A6%E7%9B%91-%E6%94%BF%E5%BA%9C%E8%A2%AB%E6%8E%A7%E6%98%AF%E9%BB%91%E6%89%8B/47762244 (CHINESE)


Israel: French-Palestinian lawyer held for alleged terror links jailed for 3 more months


Salah Hamouri held under administrative detention; was picked up day after publishing op-ed criticizing ‘Israeli apartheid’; rights groups say his phone was hacked with NSO spyware

A French-Palestinian lawyer will spend at least three more months detained without charge under a controversial Israeli practice, court documents show.

Israeli authorities overnight Sunday-Monday extended the detention of Salah Hamouri, 37, under what is known as administrative detention, according to the documents.

The practice allows suspects to be detained for renewable periods of up to six months.

An Israeli military court sentenced Hamouri to administrative detention in March. It accused him of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and said he “endangers security in the region.”

Hamouri, who holds French citizenship, denies being a member of the PFLP.




https://www.france-palestine.org/Salah-Hamouri-Nous-sommes-Palestiniens-et-nous-refusons-de-quitter-notre-patrie (FRANCAIS)




Palestinian lawyer killed in Israel West Bank clashes


A Palestinian rights lawyer was killed in clashes Wednesday close to Nablus, the fifth day of Israeli operations in the West Bank following a spate of attacks in the Jewish state, Palestinian officials said.

Violence also erupted at a flashpoint religious site in Nablus that is sacred to Jews, Joseph’s Tomb, which was vandalised days ago by Palestinians, heightening tensions.

The Israeli army said its troops were “conducting counterterrorist operations” in Nablus, the militant bastion of Jenin and several other cities in the occupied West Bank, without immediately commenting on the lawyer’s death.

The Palestinian health ministry said human rights lawyer Muhammad Hassan Muhammad Assaf, 34, “died after being shot in the chest by the Israeli occupation army during the aggression on the city of Nablus”.

Witnesses told AFP he was standing by the roadside, having just taken his nephews to school, when he was hit by a bullet as Israeli forces fired while pulling out after an incursion into Nablus.





https://www.france24.com/fr/moyen-orient/20220413-un-palestinien-tu%C3%A9-par-des-tirs-isra%C3%A9liens-lors-d-op%C3%A9rations-militaires-en-cisjordanie (FRANCAIS)



NSO ‘found on phones of Jordanian and Bahraini women’s rights activists’


Two female activists for women’s rights in the Arab world have been targeted by the Pegasus spyware belonging to the Israeli NSO group, a new investigation revealed on Monday.

The investigation, carried out by Ireland-based human rights group Front Line Defenders, said that the phones of a Jordanian and a Bahraini women’s rights activist were hacked multiple times using the Pegasus spyware, which has been purchased by several repressive governments in the world.

“We cannot directly comment on a report we haven’t seen, nor investigate based on names received in a press inquiry,” the NSO told Israeli daily Haaretz following the investigation.

The two targets are Bahraini human rights activist Ebtisam Al-Saegh, who has been arrested in Bahrain for her activism in the past, and Jordanian human rights lawyer Hala Ahed Deeb, who represents the country’s biggest union and served as the head of the legal committee of the Jordanian Women’s Union.

The report stressed the gendered impact of NSO’s surveillance: “[Women targets] live in fear of how their personal information, including private photos, videos, and conversations, could be used against them at any given point, opening the door for harassment and abuse.”

Marketed to governments for use solely against terrorists and criminals, Pegasus has been abused by NSO customers to spy on human rights activists, journalists, and politicians from Saudi Arabia to Mexico.





France/Israel/Palestine: L’ordre d’expulsion à vie de Jérusalem de Salah Hamouri confirmé


 L’ordre d’expulsion à vie de Jérusalem de Salah Hamouri confirmé

Le ministère israélien de l’Intérieur a annoncé ce lundi 18 octobre la révocation du statut de résident permanent de l’avocat franco-palestinien Salah Hamouri.

Salah Hamouri, avocat franco-palestinien de 36 ans, est né à Jérusalem. Il a toujours vécu en Palestine, c’est son pays et pourtant, aujourd’hui, il risque à tout moment d’être expulsé à vie de sa terre natale.

Jeudi 3 septembre 2020, Salah Hamouri avait été convoqué au centre d’interrogatoire de Moskobiyeh, à Jérusalem. Là-bas, lui avait été remise une lettre du ministre de l’Intérieur israélien. Ce dernier souhaitait retirer purement et simplement la carte de résidence permanente de Salah Hamouri, seul papier officiel lui permettant de vivre, chez lui, à Jérusalem.

“Les actions de Salah Hamouri constituent une violation grave de l’essentiel de son engagement en tant que résident israélien, et un abus de confiance vis-à-vis de l’Etat d’Israël”, avait indiqué Mme Shaked dans un communiqué pour justifier sa décision.

Salah Hamouri avait décidé ensuite de faire appel contre cette décision. Son appel a donc été rejeté ce lundi. Depuis plus de 15 ans maintenant, les autorités israéliennes tentent de briser Salah Hamouri parce qu’il s’oppose à l’Occupation et la colonisation israélienne de la Palestine.

Palestinien par son père, Français par sa mère, (Denise Hamouri est originaire de Bourg en Bresse), Salah Hamouri a grandi à Jérusalem. Il a été incarcéré à plusieurs reprises. En 2005, à 19 ans, alors étudiant en sociologie à Bethléem, il est accusé à tort, soupçonné d’avoir projeté l’assassinat d’un rabbin. Sur la recommandation de son avocate, il plaide coupable, pour éviter une peine de 14 ans de prison. Il sera condamné à une peine de 7 ans.





https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/tamara-nassar/israel-exile-palestinian-french-human-rights-lawyer (ENGLISH)


Israel/Palestine/France: Arrests of Palestinian rights defenders part of ‘wider crackdown’


The Palestinian Flag in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, expressed concern over arrests, harassment, criminalization and threats targeting these individuals. 

“Arrests and raids on the homes of Palestinian human right defenders form part of a wider crackdown against those defending the human rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” she said

Arrests, forcible transfers 

Ms. Lawlor was alarmed by the arbitrary arrest and detention of Farid Al-Atrash, a human rights defender and lawyer at the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR). 

Mr. Al-Atrash was detained by Israeli military forces after peacefully participating in a demonstration in Bethlehem on 15 June and released on bail eight days later. 

The rights expert also voiced concern over the forcible transfer of Palestinians living in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods in Jerusalem. 

“Muna Al-Kurd, Mohammed Al-Kurd and Zuhair Al Rajabi, human rights defenders at the forefront of protecting their communities against forced displacement, have been arrested and interrogated,” she said. 

Another activist, Salah Hammouri, a Palestinian-French human rights defender and lawyer, is also at risk of having his permanent residency permit in Jerusalem revoked. 




https://www.friendsofhebron.com/free_farid?recruiter_id=1328 (SIGN THE PETITION!)

https://news.un.org/fr/story/2021/08/1101512 (FRANCAIS)


Pegasus project: spyware leak suggests lawyers and activists at risk across globe


Rodney Dixon, a lawyer who has taken on human rights cases was selected for targeting in 2019

Leaked records show dissidents and those who help them prominent among those under threat from NSO spyware

A leak of phone data suggests human rights lawyers, activists and dissidents across the globe were selected as possible candidates for invasive surveillance through their phones.

Their mobile phone numbers appeared in leaked records, indicating they were selected prior to possible surveillance targeting by governmental clients of the Israeli company NSO Group, which developed the Pegasus spyware.

The records were obtained by the nonprofit organisation Forbidden Stories and shared with a consortium of media outlets including the Guardian.

NSO has repeatedly said Pegasus, which can access all data on a target’s device as well as turn it into an audio or video recorder, is meant for use only against terrorists and serious criminals.

The selection of activists, dissidents and journalists by NSO clients paints a very different picture, though one that campaigners will say was grimly predictable given the tool has been sold to some of the world’s most repressive regimes.


The lawyers at risk from surveillance

Lawyers also feature heavily in the leaked data.

Rodney Dixon, a prominent London-based lawyer, who has taken on numerous high-profile human rights cases, was selected for targeting in 2019. Forensic analysis of his device showed Pegasus-related activity but no successful infection.

His clients have included Matthew Hedges, a British doctoral student jailed in the UAE, and Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. She was also targeted with Pegasus, with forensics showing evidence of a successful infection.

Dixon said: “No one should be targeted in this fashion. For lawyers it is particularly concerning as it violates the fundamental principles of lawyer-client privilege and confidentiality, which are central to fair and just legal proceedings.”

Forensic analysis on the phone of the French human rights lawyer Joseph Breham shows it was compromised multiple times with Pegasus in 2019, and the leaked records suggest he had previously been selected for potential targeting by Morocco.








https://www.lemonde.fr/projet-pegasus/article/2021/07/18/projet-pegasus-revelations-sur-un-systeme-mondial-d-espionnage-de-telephones_6088652_6088648.html (FRANCAIS)