Tag Archives: Israel

Iranian Lawyers Warn Judiciary Over Defendant’s Rights Abuses


A group of 45 Iranian lawyers and law professors has published an open letter objecting to the deprivation of fundamental rights for defendants amid a deadly government crackdown following months of unrest over the death of a young woman while in police custody for how she was wearing a head scarf.

Signed by Mohsen Borhani, Houshang Pourbabaei, Soheila Rajabpour, Farideh Gheirat, Javad Kashani, and Ali Mojtahedzadeh, the letter, addressed to the country’s judiciary and published on January 18, emphasizes that the right to freely choose a lawyer — which many of the thousands detained during the unrest have complained about — is recognized by the constitution and failing to honor such basic rights in security and political cases presents “a legal dilemma and challenge.”

Iran has been rocked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in unrest marked by unprecedented shows of defiance by women and schoolgirls in what appears to be the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.

The brutal government crackdown on public demonstrators and dissent has seen several thousand people arrested and most of them forced to use lawyers from a list approved by Iran’s judiciary chief. The lawyers on the list are court-approved and have either collaborated with the state security establishment or do not have the resources to defend their clients, according to the Center for Human Rights In Iran (CHRI).

More than 500 people have been killed in the crackdown, according to rights groups. Several thousand more have been arrested, including many protesters, as well as journalists, lawyers, activists, digital rights defenders, and others.

Some lawmakers have demanded a harsh response to the unrest, saying heavy penalties, including death sentences, are warranted for protesters.

CHRI said on January 10 that at least 44 lawyers had been arrested since September to block their ability to seek justice for arbitrarily arrested activists and protesters. Eighteen remain in detention, and the rest have been released on bail but potentially will still face charges, CHRI said in a news release.







Israel: Netanyahu’s reforms will ‘crush’ justice system, Israel Supreme Court chief says


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to impose more control over the Supreme Court would “deal a fatal blow” to the independence of judges, the court’s head has warned.

The proposal, part of planned judicial reforms, has created concern that the changes may lead to laws that could affect the rights of secular liberals and minorities.

Mr Netanyahu, who took office as Prime Minister last month, says he will preserve the judiciary’s independence.

But chief justice Esther Hayut warned the proposal would “deal a fatal blow” to the independence of Israel’s judges.

She told local TV the plan was not to fix the justice system but “crush it”.

“The meaning of this plan is therefore to change the democratic identity of the country beyond recognition,” she said.

Attorney general Gali Baharav-Miara said the proposed legislation would “lead to an unbalanced system of checks and balances”, according to the Justice Ministry.

“The principle of majority rule will push other democratic values to the corner,” she said.

Yariv Levin, Israel’s Justice Minister, said his plan would restore balance between the branches of government in light of judicial overreach.

He called the criticism “a call to set the streets on fire”.









https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1324272/manifestation-davocats-contre-une-reforme-du-systeme-judiciaire.html (FRANCAIS)






Salah Hamouri: Israel deports Palestinian lawyer to France


Israel’s interior ministry says it has deported a Palestinian-French human rights lawyer after accusing him of security threats.

Salah Hammouri, 37, was escorted onto a flight to France by police early on Sunday morning, the ministry said.

A lifelong resident of Jerusalem, he was stripped of his residency rights after officials accused him of being a member of a terrorist organisation.

Mr Hammouri denies the charges and rights groups have condemned the move.

The French foreign ministry also expressed disappointment at the decision, and said it condemned “the Israeli authorities’ decision, against the law, to expel Salah Hammouri to France”.

But in a statement, the Israeli interior ministry said Mr Hammouri had “organised, inspired and planned to commit terror attacks” against “citizens and well-known Israelis”.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, part of the outgoing Israeli government, hailed the move as a personal success.

“Justice has been done to the terrorist and he has been deported from Israel,” she said in a statement.

“This was a long and protracted process and it is a tremendous achievement that I was able to bring about his deportation just before the end of my duties, using the tools at my disposal to advance the fight against terrorism.”

Mr Hammouri holds French citizenship through his mother. He held residency rights in Jerusalem – a fragile system used by Palestinians in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem which can be revoked by authorities. He does not hold Israeli citizenship.

He works for Addameer, a Palestinian legal aid and prisoners’ rights group that was designated a terrorist organisation by the Israeli defence ministry in October 2021 along with five other Palestinian civil society groups.

The military said they were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Palestinian militant group that Israel considers a terrorist organisation.





https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/12/18/israel-a-expulse-vers-la-france-l-avocat-franco-palestinien-salah-hamouri_6154913_3210.html (FRANCAIS)



Macron urged to oppose Israeli deportation of French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri 


Several charitable organizations and activist groups have called on French President Emmanuel Macron to act immediately against the expulsion of French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri by Israeli authorities.

Israel on Thursday announced it had stripped Hamouri of his Jerusalem residency and planned to deport him to France, saying he was an “activist in a banned militant group.”

French citizen Hamouri, who has been held since March in administrative detention — a tool that allows Israeli authorities to hold suspects without charge for months on end — faces deportation as early as Sunday despite being a life-long resident of Jerusalem.

His charge, as announced by the Israeli Ministry of Interior, is a “failure of allegiance” toward the state of Israel, first confirmed on June 29 last year. He has not been convicted in the proceedings.

Israel claims that Hamouri is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group that is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the US.

He is a lawyer for Adameer, a rights group that assists Palestinian prisoners that Israel has banned for alleged ties to the PFLP, and previously spent seven years in prison after being convicted in an alleged plot to kill a prominent rabbi, but was released in a 2011 prisoner swap with Hamas.

Human Rights Watch, ACAT-France, Amnesty International France, the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders are appealing to Macron to immediately call on the Israeli authorities to release Hamouri.










https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/12/02/l-expulsion-de-l-avocat-franco-palestinien-detenu-en-israel-salah-hamouri-reportee-selon-ses-proches_6152728_3210.html (FRANCAIS)





‘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)