[Pnews] Torture experts join appeal of Rasmea Odeh’s unjust conviction

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 24 16:30:34 EDT 2015

      Torture experts join appeal of Rasmea Odeh’s unjust conviction

For media inquiries: Hatem Abudayyeh, Rasmea Defense Committee, 
773.301.4108 <tel:773.301.4108>, hatem85 at yahoo.com 
<mailto:hatem85 at yahoo.com>

Internationally recognized experts on the effects of torture are 
weighing in on the appeal of prominent Palestinian American activist 
Rasmea Odeh, who is challenging her unjust November 2014 conviction 
on an immigration charge. Odeh, who was tortured and raped in an Israeli 
prison, was denied the right to present a meaningful defense in her 
Detroit trial last year.

On June 19th, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed an amicus 
curiae (“friend of the court”) brief 
on behalf of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture 
Victims, Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, Public Committee 
Against Torture in Israel, REDRESS, and the World Organization Against 
Torture, arguing that Odeh’s trial judge, Gershwin Drain, erred when he 
did not allow mention of the torture or expert testimony on its effects.

The government’s case against Odeh asserts that she unlawfully gained 
U.S. citizenship by allegedly giving false answers on her visa 
application in 1995 and again on her naturalization application in 2004, 
and that she should have disclosed her conviction, in front of an 
illegal Israeli military court, for a 1969 bombing–a conviction that was 
the result of a forced confession after horrific torture.

The reason Odeh’s torture is so important to the case is that the 
immigration forms that she is alleged to have filled out incorrectly are 
less than clear, and her conviction turned on what she “knowingly” did 
or did not do.

The torture left her with chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), 
which in the words of her appeal 
“blocked her from understanding the time frame in the questions that 
were answered falsely.”

The amicus brief states, “The Defendant-Appellant, Ms. Rasmieh [sic] 
Yousef Odeh, asserts that she is a victim of torture, including sexual 
violence and rape. She was diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic 
stress disorder (PTSD) following an evaluation by a qualified clinical 
psychologist. Defendant-Appellant Odeh was denied the opportunity to 
present evidence at trial on the symptoms of PTSD, the psychological 
effects of having endured and survived torture, and the impact of these 
symptoms on her mental state in relation to the charges against her.”

The brief also asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to 
order a new trial for Odeh. Michael Deutsch, Odeh’s lead attorney, had 
this to say about the amicus: “We welcome this support from 
organizations that are familiar with torture and its effects on people's 
states of mind. It's an important issue not only for Rasmea, but for 
many others.”

Federal prosecutor Jonathan Tukel is objecting to the brief, and it is 
expected that the Sixth Circuit court will soon make a decision on its 

The appeals court is expected to hear oral arguments on the case in 
Cincinnati this September, or possibly earlier, and the Rasmea Defense 
Committee will mobilize supporters to attend.

“We are going all out to build support for Rasmea,” stated Nesreen 
Hasan, a leader of the Rasmea Defense Committee. “She is a hero who has 
devoted the whole of her life to Palestine and the Palestinian people. 
She has rendered incredible service to the Arab community. We will stand 
with her and insist that she gets the justice she deserves.”

For more information and background on Odeh’s case, visit 

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

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