Spain demands better conditions for Spanish citizen detained in Israel

FILE PHOTO: Spain's Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya and Colombia's Foreign Minister Claudia Blum sign the new cooperation strategy between the governments of Colombia and Spain, in Bogota
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MADRID (Reuters) -Spain has demanded that Israel improve the conditions of Spanish citizen Juana Ruiz who has been detained there since April 13 without charge, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on Tuesday.

An Israeli military spokesman said Ruiz was arrested on suspicion of "contact with a foreign agent and offences related to money laundering" that helps fund the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant group.

An Israeli military court had ordered her continued detention "for investigative purposes", the spokesman said.

Gonzalez Laya told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting that the Spanish consul general on Monday personally attended Ruiz's fourth court hearing in Israel, but Ruiz still did not know what she stood accused of.

"We are in an intensive dialogue with Israeli authorities," the minister said.

Spain had demanded the improvement of conditions such as food, hygiene and personal care, and also "asked for full guarantees for Ruiz in this investigation phase," she said.

Israeli and Spanish media reports described Ruiz as a long-time resident of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where she is married to a Palestinian and active in a pro-Palestinian NGO.

"We hope the investigation concludes soon so this citizen can find out of what she is accused of, if she is accused of anything," Gonzalez Laya said.

The Israeli military spokesman said the court noted the money-laundering suspicions against her in its decision to keep her in custody.

(Reporting by Nathan Allen and Inti Landauro, additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Andrea Ricci)

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