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Israel releases Spanish aid worker jailed over Palestinian terror funding

Prisons service says Juana Rishmawi, who pled guilty to unknowingly providing funds to PFLP, has ‘walked out the door’ of detention facility

Spanish aid worker Juana Rishmawi at Ofer prison in the West Bank, on November 17, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Spanish aid worker Juana Rishmawi at Ofer prison in the West Bank, on November 17, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A Spanish aid worker who pled guilty to inadvertently funding an outlawed Palestinian terror group walked free Monday, after 10 months in jail, the Israel Prisons Service said.

Juana Rashmawi, 63, was sentenced in November to 13 months in prison after a military court convicted her of working with an organization that it said was funding the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a leftist terror group blamed for previous attacks on Israelis.

Rashmawi, who was arrested in April, pled guilty in her November plea deal to unknowingly funding the PFLP via her work for a health organization.

Last week, a judge agreed to her early release, and on Monday, a prison spokesperson told AFP that Rashmawi had “walked out the door.”

Rashmawi had been working for a Palestinian group, the Union of Health Work Committees, which Israel said funneled European donations to the PFLP.

In 2020, Israel banned the aid group from working in the West Bank.

Palestinians participate in a rally marking the 52nd anniversary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in Gaza City, December 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Her lawyer Avigdor Feldman told AFP last month that “it was not proven even that the money was transferred.”

The deal required Rashmawi to pay a fine of 50,000 shekels (nearly $16,000). Feldman said Rashmawi had signed the deal to avoid a lengthy trial.

Weeks before Rashmawi was sentenced, Israel outlawed six other prominent Palestinian civil society groups, charging that they too were fronts for the PFLP — an allegation the groups denied.

The United Nations and European governments that have donated funds to the banned groups have asked to see concrete evidence from Israel of the allegations against them.

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