UN experts urged on Sunday, 10 September 2023 Israeli regime to release an imprisoned Palestinian aid worker stating that the conviction and imprisonment of Mohammed El-Halabi violates international law.
UN experts conveyed the detention of Mohammed El-Halabi as being “based on deeply flawed proceedings and egregious violations to the right to a fair trial”.
El-Halabi, the program director of World Vision in Gaza, was arrested at the Erez border between Israel and Gaza in June 2016.
In June 2022, an Israeli court sentenced El-Halabi to 12 years in prison in August 2022 and his appeal hearings have been repeatedly postponed.
UN experts noted that during the proceedings Israeli authorities presented little evidence during the open court, and made “extensive use of secret evidence, closed-door hearings” whilst also setting restrictions on his lawyer’s access to El-Halabi or preparations for his defense.
A probe by the Australian government, which froze funding to World Vision following El-Halabi’s arrest, found no evidence of embezzlement by El-Halabi.
The UN also remarked that his subjection to solitary confinement and beatings that led to hearing loss in one ear during his six-year pretrial detention “may amount to torture and coercion to provide a confession”.
Amnesty International also called for the release of El-Halabi in May this year, calling the proceedings “deeply flawed”.