Gaza aid chief sentenced to 12 years in prison

News » Life Style

 Gaza aid chief sentenced to 12 years in prison

On Tuesday, an Israeli court sentenced the director of a major international charity in Gaza to 12 years in prison. He was found guilty of terrorism, despite the fact that independent investigations found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Mohammed el-Halabi, director of the international Christian charity World Vision in Gaza, was arrested in 2016 and accused of transferring tens of millions of dollars to the Hamas ruling Islamic terrorist group in Gaza. between Israel and humanitarian organizations helping the Palestinians. The verdict is likely to further worsen these ties.

The lawsuit sheds light on how the Israeli legal system handles sensitive security cases. Critics say the courts too often side with evidence presented by the Israeli security service.

“It's unthinkable,” &mdash ; al-Halabi's lawyer, Maher Khanna, said of the length of the sentence.

Both al-Halabi and World Vision denied the allegations, and an independent review in 2017 also found no evidence of support for Hamas. Australia, which has been the largest humanitarian donor activities of World Vision in Gaza, reached similar conclusions in its own investigation.
World Vision said in a statement that the verdict is in stark contrast to the evidence and facts in the case.

“The arrest, the six-year trial and the unfair sentence are examples of actions that hinder humanitarian work in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, to help the Palestinians”, — said World Vision.

In June, the district court in the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva deemed el-Halabiguineon several counts, including membership in a terrorist organization, providing information to a terrorist group, participating in militant exercises, and carrying weapons.

dollars, and also donated equipment from World Vision and its donors to Hamas. It says that Hamas used the funds for fighting, as well as for educating children, food aid and competitions for knowledge of the Koran for its supporters.

The court appears to have relied heavily on al-Halabi's confession, which was not made public. Hanna, his lawyer, stated that the confession was given by his client under duress and should not have been accepted as evidence. He also said that the defense was granted “very limited access” to the evidence.

Khanna said that al-Halabi intended to appeal the verdict and sentence, adding that his client had rejected several plea sentences on principle, even though they would have allowed him to go free.

Israeli authorities have repeatedly stated that they have evidence that Hamas infiltrated the aid group and gained access to resources that were directed to needy Gaza residents.

Critics say Israel often relies on dubious informants. They claim that Israel slanders groups that provide aid or other support to the Palestinians in order to “strengthen its nearly 55-year military occupation of the Palestinian territories.” Israel says it supports the work of organizations to aid, but must prevent donor funds from falling into the hands of armed terrorist groups such as Hamas.

Since al-Halabi's arrest, World Vision has suspended operations in Gaza, where more than 2 million Palestinians live under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Israel says the restrictions are necessary to contain Hamas, while critics see them as a form of collective punishment.

World Vision has worked with several Western donor countries to conduct an independent review of its Gaza operations. auditors verified almost all financial transactions in World Vision from 2010 to 2016.

According to the report, no evidence was found that al-Halabi was associated with Hamas or diverted any funds. Instead el-Halabi was found to have tightened internal controls and ordered staff to avoid any contact with suspected ties to X AMAS.

In July 2017, they submitted a more than 400-page report to World Vision and donor countries on their findings. World Vision said it offered to provide the report to Israel, but the Israeli authorities refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Follow us on Telegram

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.