Chairman of the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission, Qadri Abu Baker, called today on the international human rights, legal, and humanitarian organizations to pressure the Israeli occupation government to release Gaza former aid worker, Mohammad al-Halabi, who has been detained for more than four years without a verdict or a fair trial.
Al-Halabi has attended more than 140 court hearings, all behind closed doors. His lawyer has been prevented from reviewing Israeli prosecution evidence or was given only limited access to secrecy restrictions.
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On November 12, UN human rights experts called on Israel to release al-Halabi who has been in prison for more than four years without a verdict, or to immediately grant him a fair trial.
The experts included Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967; Agnès Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Diego García-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.
Mohammad al-Halabi, the former Gaza director of the World Vision charity, was arrested by Israeli security forces in June 2016 on allegations that he diverted millions of dollars in development funds to armed groups in Gaza, charges he denies, and which audits have not substantiated.
A statement issued by the UN experts said:
“The international rule of law requires that an individual who is arrested must only be detained if there are reasonable suspicions that she or he has committed a recognized crime, and the charges and the evidence must be clearly laid out so defendants know what they have to answer. Comprehensive audits of the financial records by World Vision and by the Australian government, which donated the money, failed to turn up any misappropriation of funds or other wrongdoing.”
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— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) June 17, 2019
“Even in security trials, these fundamental rights must be respected,” the experts said. “Unfortunately, Mr. al-Halabi has been put in the position where he is required to refute allegations against him without knowing the details or who the accusers are. Keeping him in the dark like this shifts the burden of proof to the defendant, and is a fundamental violation of the right to a fair trial,” they added.
(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)