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Gazan aid worker Halabi convicted of transferring funds to Hamas

A Palestinian walks next to a poster of Mohammed al-Halabi, the Gaza director of Christian humanitarian charity World Vision, in Gaza City on January 12, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)
A Palestinian walks next to a poster of Mohammed al-Halabi, the Gaza director of Christian humanitarian charity World Vision, in Gaza City on January 12, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

An Israeli court convicts Mohammad al-Halabi, a Gazan aid worker accused of transferring millions in funds to the Hamas terror group, on every count but one.

Halabi’s conviction seemingly ends a years-long saga that saw Israel’s justice system draw international condemnation.

Halabi was held in detention since June 2016 and throughout the prolonged legal battle. Israeli courts granted prosecutors’ requests to extend Halabi’s detention 27 times before his conviction today.

Prosecutors repeatedly offered plea bargains to Halabi, who staunchly refused and protested his innocence, according to his lawyer.

Much of the evidence used to indict Halabi remains classified. But audits by aid organization World Vision, along with Germany, Australia, and the United States Agency for International Development, failed to turn up irregularities in the disbursement of funds donated to the nonprofit.

World Vision said its entire Gaza budget over the previous 10 years was $22.5 million, making the alleged diversion of $50 million “hard to reconcile.” Halabi had been appointed manager of its Gaza operations in October 2014, less than two years before he was arrested.

The case has drawn international attention, with the European Union calling for Halabi’s “immediate release” in January. US diplomats also attended several of Halabi’s hearings before the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem.

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