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South Florida rally demands: Drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh!

By Cassia Laham |
September 29, 2014
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Florida protest demands justice for Rasmea Odeh.
Florida protest demands justice for Rasmea Odeh. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Fort Lauderdale, FL - Over two dozen people rallied in support of Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh outside of the Federal Courthouse here, Sept. 27. Protesters demanded that charges against Odeh be dropped by U.S. prosecutors or dismissed by presiding Judge Gershwin Drain.

Jonathon Tukel, Chief of the National Security Unit and Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan hold the power to drop the charges. Prosecutors Tukel and McQuade will be the targets of a national call in day Oct. 2 when Odeh appears at a hearing in front of Judge Drain.

Those in attendance at the Sept. 27 protest held a large banner that read “Drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh,” along with signs such as, “I support Palestine, I support women, I support Rasmea!” They also shouted chants including, “Drop the charges, this is garbage!”

As those following this highly politicized trial know, Rasmea Odeh is a 67-year-old Palestinian organizer who has been active her whole life in causes ranging from Palestinian solidarity to women’s rights to immigrant rights. Odeh is a people’s hero who was imprisoned for ten years, tortured and sexually assaulted by Israeli soldiers in occupied Palestine for her activism there. She has been living and organizing in the U.S. for 20 years, after being exiled upon her release from the Zionist jail cells.

About a year ago, the Department of Homeland Security raided her home and charged her with “Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization,” because she allegedly did not mention her imprisonment in occupied Palestine on her immigration papers. This charge of immigration fraud is part of an ongoing campaign of systematic repression by the U.S. government of anti-war, international solidarity and pro-Palestine activists such as the Holy Land Five and Anti-War 23.

At the rally in Fort Lauderdale, those in attendance included young and old, families and students. Protesters showed their support for Rasmea Odeh, despite periods of rain and dozens of cops. They rallied from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30. People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism organized the protest.

Anas Amireh of Al-Awda (Palestinian Right to Return Coalition) spoke to the crowd in support of Rasmea. “It is unbelievable that this obvious breach of civil rights is happening here, in the U.S.,” he said. “This could happen to any of one of us. But this amazing show of solidarity shows that if it does, we will have strong group of people to rally in our support, like we are today! Free Rasmea!”