Monday, August 8

Israel rejects house arrest for Spanish aid worker Juana Ruiz and keeps her in prison

An Israeli military court on Wednesday denied house arrest for Juana Ruiz, the Spanish humanitarian worker imprisoned in Israel since April accused of belonging to an illegal organization. “I don’t think the time has come for house arrest,” a judge has said, although he will consider it “if the trial does not progress significantly,” given the time Ruiz has been in prison.

The Military Prosecutor’s Office filed five formal charges against Ruiz in May, related to his work raising funds for 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 ( FPLP), considered a terrorist group also by the US and the EU.

“I swear to God that I am innocent,” Ruiz said in his brief speech via teleconference from Damon prison, in the city of Haifa, northern Israel. In view of this Wednesday, in the court of the military prison of Ofer, in the occupied West Bank, her daughter María, her husband Elías Rishmawi, a lawyer from the defense team and a representation of the Spanish Consulate of Jerusalem, headed by the Consul General Alfonso Lucini.

On November 3, a criminal mediation session has been convened, to which Juana Ruiz will attend in person, in which the Prosecutor’s Office and the Defense will negotiate possible agreements and address precautionary measures such as house arrest. This session will be held on the sidelines of the trial, so it will not be binding, although the court could take into account what was agreed by the parties.

Ruiz, who has been living in the Palestinian territories since 1984, was arrested on April 13 at her home in the West Bank town of Beit Sahur and the charges against her include “belonging to an illegal organization”, “receiving and introducing money into Palestinian territories “or” receiving money for a false purpose. ”

After several postponements since May due to the pandemic and changes of lawyer, Juana Ruiz went for the first time to the court of the military prison of Ofer, in the occupied West Bank, last August, for a brief hearing in which her lawyer requested that she be They will provide more details about the charges against her, as they are too general.

The lawyer leading his defense, Avigdor Feldman, argued in an interview in September that the NGO was only outlawed by Israel in 2021, so for the nearly three decades that his client worked there, it was legal. The defense also maintains that some of the events for which she is accused took place in Spain, where the Israeli court does not have jurisdiction and therefore would not be relevant in the trial.