A London-based charity the US claimed had links to terrorists has been cleared following an investigation by the UK Charity Commission.
INTERPAL, an organisation dedicated to providing humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and neighbouring states, said on Wednesday it was delighted the Charity Commission had rejected US allegations and “evidence” it had links to terrorism.
“Once again, allegations of misuse of funds against INTERPAL based, apparently, on unsubstantiated media reports and not solid intelligence, have been discredited,” said Ibrahim Hewitt, chairman of INTERPAL’s Board of Trustees.
“We would like to thank the Charity Commission for the way that the inquiry was conducted by its staff, and hope that we can now get back to the real task in hand, helping Palestinians in need with humanitarian aid.”
Hewitt had earlier told Aljazeera the US allegations of links to the Palestinian armed group Hamas were politically motivated and he was confident the investigation would clear the charity’s name.
"US authorities were unable to provide evidence to support their allegations"
UK Charity Commission
In explaining its decision, the Charity Commission released a statement on Wednesday saying the US authorities had been “unable to provide evidence to support their allegations”.
“The Commission concluded that in the absence of any clear evidence showing INTERPAL had links to Hamas’ political or violent militant activities, INTERPAL’s bank accounts should be unfrozen and the inquiry closed,” it said.
During a routine check of the charity earlier this year, the charity watchdog found INTERPAL had “improved its procedures and record keeping since the commission’s previous inquiry.”
“We will now, of course, approach the US Treasury to be removed from its list of ‘terrorist organisations’,” said Hewitt.
INTERPAL had been subjected to such allegations and investigations before. In 1996, claims were made that some of its funds had been channelled to Hamas. But that inquiry found no evidence of malpractice and concluded INTERPAL was “a well-run organisation”.
In August, the White House described INTERPAL as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organisation for allegedly supporting Hamas’ political or violent activities. The claims led the Charity Commission to launch a formal investigation and freeze INTERPAL’s assets.