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World News

World Vision stands by former employee convicted of fraud and terrorism

by Kelly Valencia

Christian humanitarian aid charity World Vision is calling for a fair appeal for its former Gaza director after he was convicted by an Israeli court on terrorism and fraud charges. 

On Wednesday, a court in the Beersheba District ruled that Mohammad el-Halabi is guilty of providing information to a terror group, carrying a weapon and embezzling millions from World Vision to support arm militants in Gaza. 

In a statement, World Vision said that in their view there have been some "irregularities" in the trial process and highlighted that there's "a lack of substantive, publically available evidence". 

"We support Mohammad's intent to appeal the decision, and call for a fair and transparent appeal process based on the facts of the case," the statement continued. 

Although the text of verdict is confidential, a reduced version, made available to the press, said the court determined that Halabi was recruited by Hamas in 2004 and was then sent to infiltrate World Vision. 
Halabi was first arrested six years ago and was later accused of diverting $50 million intended for World Vision to Hamas. 

This prompted a World Vision internal investigation which "found no evidence of diversion of funds" and found "no material evidence that Halabi was part of or working for Hamas". 

Halabi has not been sentenced yet and will appeal the ruling. 

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