French-Palestinian human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri was deported by Israel on Sunday after his residency permit was taken away, ending the judicial battle in which he stood accused of committing security offences and was detained since March.
Hamouri, 37, was under administrative detention, during which suspects are allowed to be detained for renewable terms of up to six months.
Israel’s interior ministry in its statement said that he “was deported this morning to France following Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked’s decision to withdraw his residency status”.
The human rights journalist’s supporters and family were expected that he will be deported by Israeli airline El Al on a Tel Aviv-Paris flight.
Hamouri’s supporters said that his deportation by an “occupying power” from his birthplace was illegal. Hamouri, who owns French citizenship, was sentenced to administrative detention by an Israeli military court in March.
He was accused of being a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member and the court had stated that he “endangers security in the region”.
The PFLP is considered a “terrorist group” by the US, EU and Israel. The organisation has been blamed for carrying out various deadly attacks on Israelis. Hamouri has refuted having any links with the PFLP.
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France condemns rights lawyer’s expulsion
On Sunday, France condemned Hamouri’s expulsion from Israel, as the latter reached Paris where he was received by his Elsa, along with NGO representatives, supporters and politicians at Charles de Gaulle airport.
In a statement, the French foreign ministry stated: “We condemn today the Israeli authorities’ decision, against the law, to expel Salah Hamouri to France.”
It added that Paris had been “fully mobilised, 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,” the French foreign ministry stated.
(With inputs from agencies)