LThe ruling of a military court establishes that the Spanish aid worker worked with a Palestinian organization that the Israeli state considers illegal.
It is a plea agreement agreed to allow the release of Juana Ruiz, 63, residing in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since the 1980s and
An Israeli military court found the Spanish aid worker imprisoned since April guilty of working and raising funds for an illegal organization, based on a “plea agreement” reached between the Prosecutor’s Office and the defense.
The agreement – which does not imply an express admission of guilt but rather an acceptance of the charges – proposes a 13-month prison term and a fine of NIS 50,000 (14,000 euros), although the military court will issue the final sentence on November 17. with the final penalty, which may vary.
According to this agreement, the charges against Juana Ruiz were reduced to two, although she was initially charged with five crimes related to her work in the Health Works Committees, a Palestinian NGO that Israel accuses of being part of a network that diverted European money. to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), considered a terrorist group also by the US and the EU.
The defense and the Prosecutor’s Office reached the agreement in a mediation session held on Monday, which was presented today before the military court of Ofer, in the occupied West Bank, where Ruiz arrived handcuffed.
“I always thought that I was working for a legal organization. I am very sorry if I was wrong, I hope they take into account that I have not tried to do any harm,” Ruiz declared today, who can deduct the seven months that he has already been in jail from punishment definitive.
The 63-year-old humanitarian worker lives in the Palestinian territories occupied since the 1980s, and Israel applies military law to her, as does the rest of the Palestinians in the West Bank.
The Israeli Army said in a statement that Ruiz admitted to having raised European funds for the NGO that were later transferred to finance the activities of the PFLP and that she continued with those activities despite her suspicions that she was acting on behalf of that organization considered terrorist. .
“Many documents were falsified by officials of the organization and the donors were defrauded and deceived with respect to the use of these donation funds,” indicates the Army, although his lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, assures that the agreement is specified “very clearly that she did not know that the money she raised was turned over to the PFLP. “
The Israeli Foreign and Defense ministries affirmed today in a joint statement that with the agreement Ruiz admits that he worked “as a fundraiser for the terrorist organization PFLP and that the Health Work Committees, where he worked, is one of his civil arms.” , along with the 6 NGOs recently declared terrorist by Israel.
However, Feldman assured Efe that this connection is “misleading” and “not correct”, since Ruiz always maintained that he had no knowledge of the final destination of the funds. During today’s hearing, Feldman opposed the inclusion of the six Palestinian organizations designated as terrorists in the agreement, as they had nothing to do with the Ruiz case.
“The entire international community must work together with Israel to prevent terrorist organizations from using the veneer of civilian coverage and to prevent aid funds from reaching terrorist organizations,” declared Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
Designated terrorist NGOs, which also receive international funding, are the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, the Association for Human Rights and Support for Prisoners (Addameer), the Bisan Research and Development Center, the Union of Agricultural Labor Committees and the organizations Al-Haq and Defense International for Children.
According to Israel, the plea agreement signed today “proves that the PFLP operated these network of organizations to raise funds, although donor countries and UN agencies assure that Israel has not presented evidence to support these accusations.