US court of appeals vacates conviction of Palestinian activist
Feb 26, 2016 03:47 AM EST
On Thursday, US court of appeals vacated the conviction of a Palestinian activist accused of immigration fraud. Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 68, failed to tell US authorities that she had been imprisoned in Israel for a supermarket bombing in 1969.
The Palestinian activist said, because of the severe torture by the Israeli military, including electric shocks and rape, she was forced to confess in the 1969 bombing which killed two people. The Guardian reported that sixth circuit US appeals court opinion said a lower court should have allowed expert testimony that Odeh was suffering from post-traumatic disorder or PTSD due to torture in Israel's detention facility. The opinion also states that Rasmieh did not know her statements to immigration authorities were false.
The US court of appeals said the lower court erred by excluding the testimony. Organizations who support Palestine held a campaign on Wednesday to put pressure on the appellate court to acquit Rasmieh, says The Jerusalem Post.
A Detroit Federal jury convicted Rasmieh of not revealing her life imprisonment in Israel in November 2014. In March, she was also sentenced to prison for 18 months out of a potential maximum 10 years. Her US citizenship was even cancelled and she might be deported to Jordan.
According to Detroit Free Press, a new trial might come since the case was sent back to the US District Court. However, the justice has to make a decision on whether to consider the testimony of medical experts or a psychologist. Hatem Abudayyeh, an activist with the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, said their group gives full support to Rasmieh and hopes that the judge changes his mind.
An Israeli military court convicted Rasmieh in 1970 of bombing a supermarket which killed Hebrew University students and roommates, Edward Joffe, 22, and Leon "Arie" Kanner, 21 at SuperSol supermarket in Jerusalem. She served 10 years of that sentence.