|Odeh outside the federal courthouse in Detroit after her conviction|
CINCINNATI — Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh will challenge her immigration fraud conviction Wednesday, Oct. 14 in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In November 2014, Odeh was convicted for failing to disclose on a U.S. naturalization application her 1969 conviction by an Israeli military court.
Odeh spent five weeks in jail following the conviction and was later sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. She remained free on bond, pending appeal.
The appeal calls for Odeh’s sentence to be reduced to time served if she is not granted a new trial.
Odeh’s attorneys argue that she was denied a full and fair trial because the trial court excluded testimony by psychological expert Dr. Mary Fabri.
In pretrial hearings Fabri testified that the trauma Odeh experienced at the hands of Israeli forces 45 years ago could have caused her to interpret the naturalization questions in a way to avoid thinking about the past trauma.
In an article by The Sunday Times that was circulated as an official document of the United Nations General Assembly, Odeh’s father described the torture and rape his daughter endured.
Odeh was not permitted to testify about her experience or the PTSD symptoms it caused. The trial judge also ruled that Odeh could not testify that she was innocent of the charges for which she was convicted in Israeli military court.
The Rasmea Defense Committee will hold a rally in front of the courthouse before the appeal. The group is also calling for supporters to fill the courtroom during the proceedings.
Three appellate judges will hear oral arguments in the appeal and make a decision within two to six months.
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