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Court: Judge Must Consider PTSD In Palestinian Activist Case

Tom Burke

West Michigan supporters for Palestinian-American activist RasmeaOdeh are celebrating what they call a partial victory after a federal appeals court ruling last week.  

The ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says that a lower court judge must reconsider his decision to block testimony by an expert in post-traumatic stress disorder in the case of RasmeaOdeh.

“We were in the midst of planning a protest in case her appeal didn’t’ go through. But this morning we found out that there was a positive decision and a partial victory for her.”

That's Tom Burke, who has been organizing in West Michigan to support Odeh. Like Odeh, Burke was one of 23 activists, dubbed the Anti-War 23, indicted in Northern Illinois. Odeh’s original conviction stated that she lied to obtain citizenship.

“Our argument is: she answered questions truthfully and honestly given that she suffers PTSD from being tortured. So, when she answered immigration questions about being arrested, she was in a state of mind that that was a reference to the United States.”

An Israeli military court convicted Odeh of participating in bombings in Jerusalem. But her defense’s argument is that that conviction was obtained after weeks of torture including rape.

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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