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Gaza aid worker attends 154th court hearing in Israel

January 14, 2021 at 9:38 am

Mohammed El Halabi, World Vision’s area development programme manager, 8 August 2016 [Mohammad Awed / APA]

Former Gaza aid worker, Mohammad El-Halabi, is attending his 154th court hearing in Israel, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC) said yesterday.

The 42-year-old, who was the director of World Vision in Gaza until he was detained in 2016, has attended all the previous court hearings behind closed doors. His lawyer has been prevented from reviewing Israeli prosecution evidence.

In a statement, the PPC said: “What is happening with Al-Halabi poses danger on the human rights and humanitarian work as it is an obvious intimidation to aid and human rights institutions in Palestine.”

The “arbitrary measures” practiced against El-Halabi, the PPC added, “are considered a test for the international rights system and its humanitarian message.”

The PPC called on international rights groups to “seriously put pressure on the occupation in order to immediately release El-Halabi, who was subject to torture and lengthy interrogation that lasted 52 days.” The former aid worker has suffered hearing loss as a result of the torture, the rights body said.

El-Halabi is a married father of five. He is currently being held in Rimon Prison and has been prevented from family visits.

In March 2017, an Australian government probe found no evidence that taxpayer money was misused by NGO World Vision in the Gaza Strip, despite ongoing allegations by the Israeli government that millions of dollars were diverted from the organisation to Hamas while El-Halabi was at the helm.

El-Halabi, the head of the group’s office in Gaza, was detained by Israeli forces and charged by Israel with financing Hamas with funds from the organisation.

READ: 115 Court Appearances and Counting: Father of ‘Humanitarian Hero’, Mohammed El-Halabi Speaks Out