Gaza relief worker convicted of embezzling millions for Hamas

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 Gaza relief worker convicted of embezzling millions for Hamas

An Israeli court on Wednesday found Mohammad al-Halabi, a Gaza aid worker, guilty of transferring millions of dollars to the terrorist group Hamas on all but one count.

Israeli forces arrested Chalabi, who worked for World Vision — respected Christian humanitarian organization operating worldwide, — in 2016 on charges of transferring money to Hamas. Since then, he has been under arrest.

The long-term detention of the humanitarian worker, combined with little publicly released evidence of his guilt, has led to international condemnation of the Israeli justice system.

Halabi intends to appeal the decision to the Israeli Supreme Court, according to his lawyer. the verdict is set for July 10.

The 254-page ruling, like much of the evidence against Chalabi, is classified. In an abridged version released to the press, the Beersheba District Court relied heavily on Chalabi's confession to Shin Bet security agents, which he has since retracted.

Chalabi and World Vision categorically denied the accusations against him.

According to the ruling, Israeli authorities determined that Chalabi was recruited in 2004 by Hamas's military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. His handlers later sent him to World Vision to “gain influence in an international organization.”

Halabi's family and lawyer said the confession was obtained under pressure from a Palestinian informant he spoke to in prison, whom they are accused of falsifying and misrepresenting key details.

The case caused an international outcry: in January, the European Union called for the “immediate release” of Chalabi. Human rights groups criticized Halabi's verdict, calling it a reflection of their accusing the judiciary of being biased against Palestinians.

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