, Dec 7 () –
An Israeli prison committee on Tuesday refused to release the Spanish aid worker Juana Ruiz, sentenced to 13 months in prison and fined about 14,000 euros for being part of an illegal organization and for having introduced money under false pretenses.
Ruiz, a project coordinator at the Palestinian NGO Health Work Committees (HWC) – an organization deemed illegal by Israel – was arrested in April at her home in Beit Sahur, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
The defense and the prosecution reached an agreement in November whereby the aid worker was sentenced to 13 months in prison, but her defense hoped to reduce the practical application of the sentence. However, a prison board has ruled out his provisional release on Tuesday, according to family sources consulted by.
The Israeli authorities link HWC with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization, and claim that the NGO Ruiz worked for diverted funds to finance the terrorist activities of this group.
Furthermore, the agreement with the prosecution served as an argument for the Israeli government to reaffirm its claim that six other outlawed NGOs this year finance the activities of the FPLF, which both the EU and the United States consider a terrorist organization.
The case of Juana Ruiz has generated several inquiries from the Spanish Government. Last week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, reported that he had raised this issue in a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid.