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  • A photo of the 72-year-old Palestinian activist Rasmea Yousef Odeh.

    A photo of the 72-year-old Palestinian activist Rasmea Yousef Odeh. | Photo: Samidoun

Published 29 March 2019

The global far-right seeks to silence voices supporting the Palestinian struggle.

Germany ordered Friday the Palestinian activist, Rasmea Odeh, to leave the country after she lost an appeal to the Foreign Nationals Office’s decision to withdraw her Schengen visa, a European short-stay visa.

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The Deutsche Welle (DW) reported that the Berlin Higher Administrative Court upheld such decision arguing that "the right to free speech did not oblige Germany to allow foreign nationals to stay in the country to give them a platform."

The 72-year-old activist had been speaking at events organized by the Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network (Samidoun) in various places across Germany. Berlin authorities, however, censored her on March 15, when she was expected to speak at an event alongside Dareen Tatour, a poet and former prisoner.

“Most concerningly German authorities stripped Rasmea of her Schengen visa at the demand of Israeli and U.S. officials,” Samidoun reported on March 14, adding that the attack on her right to speak aims at preventing “people in Berlin and everywhere in Europe from hearing her critically important message and the stories of Rasmea’s own life: a sexual assault and torture survivor at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces.”

The Solidarity Network called support for people around the world to push back against demands by the U.S. and Israeli governments, both of which seek Rasmea Odeh to be silenced in Germany and throughout Europe.

“U.S. and Israeli officials are attempting to chase Rasmea around the world to build a new form of imprisonment and silencing wherever she goes. This is also an attempt to silence the Palestinian cause,” Samidoun denounced and stressed that “we will not settle for anything other than the protection of Rasmea’s rights and those of all people under attack for their existence and struggle for justice.”

Among the solidarity expressions with Odeh, the Brazil-Palestine Institute (Ibraspal), which is an NGO promoting human rights, recalled some milestones in her life.

“Rasmea was a one-month-old baby when her family had to flee their home in Lifta in February 1948... Zionist forces destroyed Lifta and expelled its residents as part of their strategy to take control of Jerusalem. Rasmea grew up as a refugee in Ramallah in the West Bank and witnessed the occupation by the Israeli army in 1967.”

When she was 21 years old in 1969, she was arrested, tortured for 21 days and forced to sign a "confession" stating that she had helped organize two explosions in West Jerusalem. She remained in prison until 1979, when she was released, along with 75 Palestinian political prisoners.

In 1995 Rasmea Odeh emigrated to the United States where her brother and father were living as citizens. Later, accused by immigration authorities of having made false statements in her naturalization application, she was deported to Jordan in 2017.

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