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Parents of French-Palestinian convict look to Sarkozy

Latest update : 2008-04-23

The family of Salah Hamouri, a Franco-Palestinian convicted for murder in Israel, claims he was wrongly sentenced and is now appealing to French President Nicolas Sarkozy for help. (Report: G.Auda, M.de Chalvron, A. Young)

Salah Hamouri, a young man with dual French and Palestinian citizenship, is currently sitting in jail for planning to assassinate Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a well known Israeli religious and political leader.

But his mother thinks he was wrongly sentenced and never intended to commit the act.

“We were told it was seven years," says Denise Hamouri.  “It was a 'take it or leave it’ deal; and if we left it, well, then it was our responsibility. So we had no choice but to accept it.”

The family agreed to the deal. Salah Hamouri will spend seven years in jail, minus the three he already served under administrative detention in Israel.

As a French citizen, Hamouri could have asked for extradition to France. But he feels Palestinian at heart, and didn’t want to get special treatment.

“He refused to go to France,” Hamouri’s father, Hassan, says. “They told him to go for 10, 15 years but he refused.”

But as a Palestinian, there is a possibility that Hamouri may not have received a fair trial, says Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian legislator and president of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Commission.

“This is a military court,” Jarrar explains. “If I have a dream of doing something and I don’t do it, according to military orders, they can charge me for it.”

The Hamouri family’s last hopes rest with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In a desperate attempt to get their son back, they sent a letter to the Elysee palace.

“He’s the French president, “ says Denise Hamouri. “When a French person is in difficulty, he says he is ready to come and take the person back to France: It’s him who says this.”

Until then, her son will remain in an Israeli prison near the coastal town of Netanya.
 

Date created : 2008-04-23

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