Israel Declares Spanish Aid Worker Juana Ruiz Guilty After Reaching An Agreement

Israel declares Spanish aid worker Juana Ruiz guilty after reaching an agreement

An Israeli military court has convicted the Spanish aid worker Juana Ruiz, imprisoned since April, for working and raising funds for an organization accused of illegal, based on a “guilty 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 sentence 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 money. European to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), considered a terrorist group also by the US and the EU.

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The defense and the Prosecutor’s Office reached the agreement in a mediation session held on Monday, which was presented this Wednesday before the military court of Ofer, in the occupied West Bank, where Ruiz arrived handcuffed. Ruiz, who can deduct the seven months she has already been in jail from the final sentence, was arrested on April 13 and held for almost a month without formal charges.

The 63-year-old humanitarian worker resides 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 donors were defrauded and deceived regarding 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 have affirmed in a joint statement that with the agreement Ruiz admits that he worked “as a fundraiser for the terrorist organization PPLP 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, the cooperator’s lawyer has assured EFE that this link is “misleading” and “not correct”, since Ruiz always maintained that he had no knowledge of the final destination of the funds. During the hearing, the lawyer objected to the inclusion in the agreement of the six Palestinian organizations designated as terrorists, since they had nothing to do with the Ruiz case.

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 signed plea agreement “proves that the PFLP operated this network of organizations to raise funds”, although donor countries and UN agencies assure that Israel has not presented evidence to support these accusations.

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