The evangelical humanitarian organization World Vision remains to back Gazan relief worker Mohammad el-Halabi after being convicted guilty this Wednesday of aiding millions of dollars to the Hamas terrorist group out of embezzlement from the organization's funds.
In a statement, World Vision accepted the Beersheva District Court's judgment regarding Halabi but expressed disappointment. After Halabi was charged and detained in 2016, the organization claimed that his case has inconsistencies in the trial process and a lack of solid publicly available evidence. They support Halabi's decision to appeal and demand a fair and open appeal process based on the facts of the case.
The relief worker's prolonged detention, along with the lack of publicly available evidence of his guilt, led to international censure of Israel's court system, The Times of Israel reported. Before his anticipated sentence on July 10, his lawyer said that Halabi would appeal the verdict to Israel's Supreme Court.
Halabi's Confession To The Allegations
The Beersheba District Court relied significantly on Halabi's confession to Shin Bet security operatives, which he has since revoked. Justice Natan Zlotchover noted in the decision that the defendant's confession showed veracity and was backed up by other confidential information. The ruling indicated that Halabi was recruited by Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in 2004 and his handlers relocated him to World Vision to obtain power at an international body.
Halabi's family and lawyer asserted that his confession was obtained through coercion made by a Palestinian informant he communicated with in prison who falsified and distorted important elements.
The accusations about Halabi embezzling $50 million from the organization's funds were dismissed by former World Vision International CEO Kevin Jenkins. In his August 2016 statement, he explained that for the past 10 years, World Vision's cumulative operating budget in Gaza was approximately US$22.5 million, past the amount of money that has been allegedly gotten.
In addition, before Halabi became Operation Manager in October 2014, he just managed only a portion of the Gaza budget. Individuals in managerial positions at his level were limited to a signature authority of US$15,000 under World Vision's accountability processes.
However, Jenkins' claims were junked by three Israeli justices saying the precise figures were immaterial compared to the massive amount they summed on the evidence.
Halabi's Questionable Trial Process
Much of the evidence used to bring Halabi convicted was still confidential. However, audits conducted by World Vision, Germany, Australia, and the US Agency for International Development found no abnormalities in the distribution of monies provided to the Aid agency.
In 2016, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considered Halabi's arrest a triumph in the fight against Palestinian terrorism. Since then, many of Halabi's hearings were held under closed doors, including his 2018 cross-examination, the Times of Israel reported.
Halabi's lawyer, Attorney Maher al-Hanna said that the court system declined to provide skilled translators, leading his client to reply inappropriately to questioning. His colleague wasn't also granted to testify by the court due to security concerns.
Halabi's family was in despair of the court's decision in addition to his absence of six years which had taken a heavy toll on his family.
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