Rasmea Odeh: Another Example of US Courts’ Political Bias

rasmeaReblogged from Mufta

After only two hours of jury deliberations, Palestinian-American activist, Rasmea Odeh, has been convicted of “unlawful procurement of naturalization” for failing to disclose that she was conviction by an Israeli military court, forty-five year ago, on dubious and discredited terrorism charges. The conviction came after Odeh was kidnapped, tortured, and raped by Israeli soldiers, who induced her to confess to a crime she denied committing. Though she renounced the forced confession, an Israeli court convicted Odeh anyway and sentenced her to life in prison. She was eventually released in a prisoner exchange and immigrated to the United States in 1995. Journalist Charlotte Silver recently recounted these events in a piece for the Nation:

When she was 21, in 1969, Odeh was arrested in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers at her home, and for twenty-five days her interrogators tortured her. She was beaten from head to toe with sticks and metal bars; her body, including genitalia and breasts, was subjected to electric shocks after she was forced to watch a male prisoner tortured to death in this very way. All the while, she was told she would die if she did not confess. But it was not until they brought in her father, threatening to force him to rape her, that she agreed to sign a confession stating that she had helped orchestrate two explosions in West Jerusalem that killed two civilians. Even then, her torturers raped her with a thick wooden stick.

Standing before a military court less than one month later, Odeh renounced the confession. But the panel of judges ignored that, and Odeh was sentenced to ten years plus life in prison. Ten years later, she was released in a prisoner exchange, along with seventy-five other Palestinians. That same year, in 1979, Odeh traveled to Geneva, where she described to the United Nations precisely how she came to be convicted of terrorism by Israel. In the years following, Odeh lived in Lebanon and Jordan, where she obtained a law degree. In 1995 she immigrated to the United States, joining her brother and father, both US citizens, and the large Arab-American communities in Detroit and, later, Chicago.

Odeh did not divulge the conviction on her U.S. naturalization papers or to immigration representatives, before being granted citizenship in 2004. About a year ago, she was arrested by officials from the Department of Homeland Security and charged with unlawfully obtaining her naturalization, a crime that carries anywhere from probation to ten years in jail.

But for the U.S. government’s active pursuit of Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim activists since 9/11, Odeh’s Israeli court case may never have been discovered…

Read the entire article here.

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