The Israeli court sentenced a former Gaza aid chief from a major international organization to 12 years in prison on Tuesday. The conviction was for siphoning millions of agency dollars to Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the enclave. Do you use Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for the latest updates on the war in Ukraine.World Vision International, which employed Muhammad al-Halabi as head of the Gaza operation from 2014 until his arrest in 2016, said independent audits and investigations conducted in recent years found no evidence of wrongdoing. Stated. The Beersheba district court in southern Israel ruled in June that Halabi was guilty of funneling $50 million and tons of steel to Hamas.
This is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union. Israel has accused the director of Gaza World Vision of diverting millions of dollars to Hamas’s military wing.However, Kevin Jenkins, president of World Vision International, has stated that it is difficult to reconcile these allegations, as the organization’s total budget for Gaza over the past ten years amounts to only around $22.5 million. In June 2016, Israeli security forces arrested Halabi at the Erez Crossing Point between Gaza and Israel. He was indicted in August of that year.He has been in prison for the past six years, awaiting a trial.
World Vision said in a statement on Tuesday that the arrest, six-year trial, and unjust verdict against a staff member in Gaza is emblematic of the actions that hinder humanitarian work in Gaza and the West Bank.Maher Hanna, lawyer for Mohammed Halabi, said that Halabi is innocent and that he worked to prevent Hamas from accessing World Vision’s funds. He said that they would be appealing the verdict to the Supreme Court and that he expects the decision to be overturned in the next few weeks.Khalil al-Halabi, Mohammad’s father, said that Israel offered him the chance to sign a plea deal in return for his release, but that he declined.
He said that the charges were “silly” and that he denied them categorically. “They threatened him that if he didn’t confess, he would be sentenced to years in prison. “This is revenge for not confessing.” Part of the prosecution’s case against Halabi is based on a confession that she says he made to an Israeli informant with whom he shared a cell.
His lawyer said the confession was made under duress. Halabi was convicted on several charges related to Hamas, including financing terrorist activities, providing information to the group, participating in military exercises, and possessing a weapon.Israel has kept much of the evidence for the trial confidential, from the public and from Halabi’s legal team, citing security concerns.