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2nd day of trial: Justice for Rasmea

By Joe Iosbaker |
November 5, 2014
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In court today, Nov. 5, the government presented its case against Rasmea Odeh. As expected, it is based on Israeli military court proceedings against her from 1969 to 1970. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel held up the Israeli conviction, which was achieved only after Rasmea was violently tortured for 25 days.

Prosecutor Tukel cites a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the U.S. and Israel as justification for recognizing the decisions of Israeli military tribunals operating on occupied Palestinian lands seized in 1967.

Michael Deutsch, the lead attorney for Odeh, responded by opening the defense with an indictment of Israel. He drew a picture for the jury of a courtroom in Israel, with “judges who are soldiers” – an image of a military dictatorship.

His cross-examinations made the government’s witnesses look foolish. First on the witness stand was Department of Homeland Security special agent Stephen Webber. He started the investigation of Odeh in 2010, at the request of the U.S. Attorney in Chicago that was pursuing 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists.

When asked why he started looking into Odeh’s past, Webber said he’d received information that she might have been involved in a bombing. Deutsch followed, asking if he knew why the office in Chicago thought that. The prosecution was embarrassed when Webber said, “I could speculate,” and Deutsch responded, “Go ahead, speculate.” Tukel hastily called out, “Objection!”

As dramatic as Tuesday and Wednesday have been, the defense confirmed that Odeh will be called to testify on her own behalf after the prosecution closes its case, perhaps Thursday, Nov. 6. News of this is bringing more supporters traveling to Detroit to pack Judge Drain’s courtroom in support of this icon of the Palestinian liberation movement.