Gaza-based staff and beneficiaries of World Vision rally in support of the organisation's jailed Gaza director, Mohammad al-Halabi, on March 28, 2017 [Mohammed Asad / Middle East Monitor]

UN SecGen seriously concerned about detention of Halabi

By Daoud Kuttab- PNN/ Bethlehem/

The Secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres has expressed “serious concern” about the continued detention of Palestinian humanitarian manager Mohammad al Halabi.

In a January 8th letter to Riyad Mansour- the Permanent observer of the mission of the state of Palestine- Guterres slammed the “undue delays in his trial while he remains under detention.”

Al Halabi who was detained in 2016 has undergone a possible record number of court sessions without any proof being presented to the judges. An Israel court in Beir Sheba is expected to convene for the 154th time on January 14th.  Mohammad al Halabi won the UN’s humanitarian hero award in 2014.

The UN Secretary-general also criticized the Israeli authorities’ use of secret evidence. Guterres noted that “concerns have also been expressed regarding allegations of inhuman treatment in detention, confidentiality restrictions imposed on his legal assistance team, apparent lack of evidence against him, and systematic use of secret evidence. Al Halabi former director of the World Vision charity in Gaza is accused of diverting humanitarian aid to a terrorist organization. World Vision and the Australian government have thoroughly audited all the accounts and found no truth to the allegations.

Various UN agencies have made public statements since 2016 calling for Al Halabi’s release, Guterres said.

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