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Lawyer to Appeal 5-year Jail Sentence of U.S. Woman in Israel

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Attorney Felicia Langer said today that she would appeal a five-year prison sentence imposed last week on Terry Fleener, 23, of San Antonio, Texas, who was convicted of conveying information about Israel to an Arab terrorist organization. Ms. Fleener was tried in camera, the usual procedure in such cases and the sentence was pronounced by a panel of three judges sitting in a Tel Aviv district court.

Langer said the sentence was excessive. No details were disclosed as to the nature of Fleener’s offense or when it occurred. The court had refused to reveal even the nationality of the defendant but information was obtained by the press and published abroad.

Fleener was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport last Oct. 25. She told the security agents who apprehended her that she wanted Langer as her counsel, indicating that she had been briefed in advance to request the Israeli attorney who has frequently defended persons accused of security offenses.

Two representatives of the U.S. Embassy were permitted to attend the trial. But Fleener’s mother, Mary Boettcher of Enon, Ohio, who flew to Israel, was barred as was Catherine Edwards, a former San Antonio University professor, who came to be a character witness.

According to Mrs. Boettcher, her daughter spent three years in Lebanon with her Lebanese fiance and also visited Israel. It was not clear whether the charges against her concerned activities on her earlier visit to Israel or intended actions when she landed here in October.

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