Mohammed El Halabi in court in Be’er Sheva, 2017.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The latest bizarre episode of the Mohammad El Halabi Case

The decision from the Israeli judge of the Beer Sheva Court caught advocate Maher Hanna off guard.

Hanna a member of the Israeli Bar Association has been trying to get his client Mohammad El Halabi released but has run into the most bizarre case of his entire career. El Halabi the former head of the World Vision humanitarian organization in Gaza has been in an Israeli jail since June 2016.

He was arrested upon returning from an office meeting in Jerusalem and has been accused of masterminding a financial conspiracy diverting millions of dollars earmarked for humanitarian work to organizations that Israel calls terrorist organizations. Israeli media reported an astronomical figure of $50 million which far exceeds the entire budget of the American-based Christian organizations.

In fact, World Vision and its Australian donors conducted an independent high-level forensic study of all the accounts of their Gaza operations and found no wrongdoing of their director whose spending personal maxim amount was $300 and his entire office’s ceiling was a mere $15,000.

Since his arrest and torture for over 50 days Israel has made repeated offers to have him released if he simply accepted a plea bargain in which he admits to almost anything just to cover up for the Israeli’s gross mistake but he has refused saying he will not admit to any crime he didn’t commit.

The case has been bizarre from day one with hordes of secret evidence, irregularities of what his defense lawyer is allowed to see and do and ended last summer with the Israeli judge ordering attorney Hanna that he had to type his own closing argument on the computer of the Israeli prosecutor and he is not allowed to keep a copy of it. He finalized his argument based on the court’s bizarre demands last September. No decision has been made and the Israeli high court has ordered that the Beersheba court must make a decision no later than January 24th, 2022. Bail has been repeatedly rejected because El Halabi is accused of national treason!!!

What shocked advocate Hanna on January 5th was a decision by the judge that he must reduce his 386-page closing argument to 100 pages. And he has to do that only when the Israeli prosecutor will allow him to access the laptop on which he was forced to type the original argument.

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