Statement from ACFID on the guilty verdict of Mohammed El Halabi

16 Jun, 2022

Last night, a court in Israel found former World Vision program manager Mohammad El Halabi guilty on all but one charge.
 
ACFID considers the verdict to be a grave miscarriage of justice and supports an appeal being made.
 
Mr El Halabi was found guilty based on a confession he allegedly signed after suffering duress at the hands of the Israeli state. He has consistently denied the allegations, while imprisoned pre-trial, enduring interrogations over six years and declined to plea bargain accepting guilt.
 
World Vision commissioned a major global law firm, with the help of a leading global advisory firm, to conduct an independent forensic investigation of the matter. It found no diversion of funds, and no material evidence that Mr El Halabi was a member of or working for Hamas.
 
A DFAT review also found no evidence that taxpayer money had been misused.
 
Much of the evidence against him has remained secret, and as such cannot be accepted as legitimate.
 
ACFID deeply sympathises with World Vision and Mr El Halabi, and believes he is an innocent pawn used as part of a campaign to curtail international assistance to the people of Gaza.
 
The aid and development sector around the world has stringent accountability mechanisms, specifically to donors like the Australian government.
 
ACFID has its own Code of Conduct for members, which includes relevant clauses relating to governance. These include Commitment 8.2 which requires members to have robust policies and internal controls in place to mitigate the risk of financial wrongdoing and ensure that funds and resources entrusted to them are properly controlled and managed.
 
Other standards which apply to the development and humanitarian sector internationally have similar conditions, requiring signatories to manage resources effectively, efficiently and ethically.
 
ENDS

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