Crime & Justice

Trial of Spanish aid worker Juana Sanchez begins in Israel

Ramallah, West Bank, Aug 10 (EFE).- Israel on Tuesday started the military trial of Spanish humanitarian aid worker Juana Ruiz Sanchez, accused of being a member of an illegal organization.

Ruiz Sanchez’s trial is taking place in the occupied West Bank after having been postponed three times.

“The case against our client Juana Ruiz is unfounded and is part of Israel’s effort to criminalize all external humanitarian activities and organizations in the occupied (Palestinian) territories,” her lawyer, Avigdor Fledman, told EFE before the hearing session started at 7am UTC.

The 62-year-old was handcuffed and seemingly tired when she entered a room at Ofer military prison, where her husband and two representatives from the consulate general of Spain in Jerusalem were present.

Ruiz Sanchez, arrested by the Israeli army on April 13, worked as a project coordinator at the Palestinian Health Work Committees (HWC) and was not formally charged by the military court until May.

The Spaniard is facing five charges including membership of an unlawful organization, illegal transfers of money, and fraud.

Israel believes the HWC diverted funds from European donations to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PELP), which is on the terrorism blacklist of the United States and the European Union.

On Thursday, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said that the EU has found no evidence of misuse of funds in Palestine to date.

Borrell explained that the EU is perfectly aware of Ruiz Sanchez’s case and added that providing her with adequate detention conditions and ensuring she receives assistance and legal advice is of extreme importance. EFE


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