[Pnews] Rasmea Odeh appeals unjust conviction and sentencing

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 10 10:41:05 EDT 2015


*Rasmea Odeh appeals unjust conviction & sentencing*** 
<http://justice4rasmea.org/news/2015/06/09/rasmea-odeh-appeals-conviction-and-sentencing/> 


On Tuesday, June 9, lead defense attorney Michael Deutsch filed a brief 
<http://www.stopfbi.net/sites/default/files/appellantbrief.pdf>with the 
Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, to appeal the conviction and 
sentencing of Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh. The appeal urges 
the court to reverse the conviction, arguing that Odeh was denied her 
right to present her complete defense, and that the trial court was 
wrong to allow prejudicial documents from Israel’s military court. It 
also calls on the appeals court to resentence her to no additional 
prison time (she was jailed for 5 weeks after the November conviction 
<http://justice4rasmea.org/news/2014/11/10/rasmea-found-guilty/>).

The case against Odeh claimed that she had unlawfully gained U.S. 
citizenship by allegedly giving false answers on her visa application in 
1995 and again on her naturalization application in 2004.The government 
claimed that she failed to disclose that she had been convicted by the 
Israelis of participating in bombings in 1969.This conviction in a 
military court was the result of a false confession made after she was 
viciously tortured and raped 
<http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/international/208699-why-is-obamas-doj-prosecuting-a-torture-victim>by 
Israeli military authorities for weeks.As a result of that torture, Odeh 
has been diagnosed with chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which 
“blocked her from understanding the time frame in the questions that 
were answered falsely.”

After initially ruling in favor of the defense that the government would 
need to prove Odeh had intentionally given false answers on her 
immigration application documents, Judge Gershwin Drain reversed his own 
decision, denying her right to present a full defense at her trial. That 
ruling barred the testimony of torture expert Dr. Mary Fabri, who was 
prepared to present a “solid, science-based, direct explanation and 
corroborations of [Ms. Odeh’s] state of mind, as a matter of fact, which 
would have established that she did not knowingly lie on the application.”

Judge Drain further restricted Odeh’s testimony in her own defense, 
disallowing her from making any statements “about the torture she 
endured, the symptoms she has chronically suffered as a result of her 
torture, or her recent diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. Nor 
was she allowed to testify that she was innocent of the Israeli charges, 
or [about] the complete lack of due process and fundamental fairness in 
her arrest, trial and imprisonment by the military occupation courts.”

The appeal brief states, “For a jury to fairly evaluate Ms. Odeh’s 
testimony that she believed the questions only referred to her history 
in the U.S., and that she blocked out any thought of her history under 
Israeli military occupation, requires an explanation of how her chronic 
condition could have affected her thinking, so the Jury could fairly 
decide whether or not her defense was believable. The jury was denied 
this critical evidence, and Ms. Odeh’s fundamental constitutional right 
to present her defense was thereby arbitrarily denied.”

The brief also argues that the trial court was wrong to allow documents 
from Israel’s military court, because they were products of torture and 
a denial of due process and fundamental fairness, and because they 
contained inflammatory language that unduly biased the jury against Odeh.

“The prosecution’s case against Ms. Odeh was based in substantial part 
upon 45 year-old documents created by a military occupation legal system 
imposed on the Palestinian people living in the West Bank region, after 
invasion, and conquest by Israel in 1967,” states the brief.He adds that 
these documents should have been excluded because “the military judicial 
process imposed on the people of the West Bank was based on the 
systematic use of torture, forced confessions, and other procedures 
wholly inconsistent with Due Process and U.S. principles of Fundamental 
Fairness.”

The brief continues: “Ms. Odeh was tortured and sexually abused for 
weeks, denied access to a lawyer for 45 days, and [denied] the right to 
remain silent. She was forced to confess, which directly led to her 
‘indictment,’ returned by soldiers acting as a grand jury, and trial by 
soldiers acting as judges. Her conviction and imprisonment were the 
direct result of torture, and coerced confessions by her and her 
co-defendants.”

Finally, Deutsch argues that the 18 month prison sentence should be 
thrown out, because Judge Drain failed to apply standard sentencing 
guideline adjustments in consideration of Odeh’s age, her chronic PTSD, 
and her exemplary contributions to her community.

“Rasmea Odeh is a hero, our hero, and as we’ve said for almost two 
years, she has come under attack only because she is a Palestinian who 
has dedicated her life to the liberation of Palestine,” said Nesreen 
Hasan, a leader of the Rasmea Defense Committee.“We expect that the 
appeals court will hear oral arguments in Cincinnati in September, and 
hundreds of her supporters will be there with her, as we were throughout 
the trial.She is so loved and respected that the legendary Angela Davis 
will be in Chicago June 28 
<http://justice4rasmea.org/events/2015/06/28/freedom-beyond-occupation-and-incarceration/>to 
offer her public support as well.”

On Thursday, June 11, Deutsch will appear with Rasmea via livestream 
<http://uspcn.org/2015/06/03/june-11th-live-stream-legal-update-with-deutsch-rasmea/>, 
to further explain the appeals process and what’s next in the fight for 
#Justice4Rasmea.After filing today’s brief, he told the Rasmea Defense 
Committee that “justice requires Rasmea’s conviction be reversed and she 
be afforded a fair trial.”

For more information and background on Odeh’s case, visit 
www.justice4rasmea.org.

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org


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