Detroit, MI - Michael Deutsch, Jim Fennerty, and the rest of the legal defense team for Rasmea Odeh are gearing up for trial, now scheduled for May 30. New motions filed this week put the question of Israel and its torturers front and center, and will be considered at a hearing on April 25 (moved from April 4).
One motion calls on Judge Gershwin Drain to suppress all evidence procured through torture. Citing the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the constitution, and international law, including the Convention against Torture, Deutsch argues that any evidence based on Odeh’s confession to the Israelis in 1969, which came as the result of an illegal arrest and subsequent torture, cannot be allowed a hearing in court.
In a second motion for discovery, Deutsch is asking the prosecutors for all evidence relating to Odeh’s arrest and torture, including the names of her torturers and any “use of force” guidelines the Israelis used in the late 1960s. Israel still regularly employs the use of torture against Palestinians, including children. In court, these documents will help to prove the systematic nature of decades of Israeli torture of Palestinians, and as it relates to this case.
In Odeh’s case, her torture was documented by the United Nations, and again by psychologist Dr. Mary Fabri, a world-renowned torture expert, during Fabri’s clinical evaluation and subsequent diagnosis of Odeh’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In her written affidavit to the court, Dr. Fabri recounts the horrific details of Odeh’s torture at the hands of the Israelis, including physical beatings, intentional medical neglect, psychological torture, and sleep deprivation; being forced to witness the torture of her friends and family; and, of course, the sexual assault and violence to which she was subjected.
These new motions follow the filing weeks ago of one that takes aim at a “vindictive” superseding indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney following the appellate court decision that reversed Odeh’s conviction. The new indictment accuses Rasmea Odeh of “terrorism” by alleging she was a member of a Palestinian political party on the U.S. State Department’s list of designated foreign terrorist organizations. The most important question Judge Drain will consider at the upcoming hearing is whether to allow the new indictment at all, which is being challenged by the defense on a number of legal fronts, including for violating the statute of limitations.
“If the indictment is thrown out, we know that Rasmea can win this case at trial,” said Muhammad Sankari of the Rasmea Defense Committee in Chicago. “If it’s not, Rasmea and her team are ready for a fight. She survived brutal torture at the hands of the Israelis, and that should not be used to help the U.S. government persecute her today.”
Judge Drain will rule on all the motions at the next pretrial hearing, which has been moved from April 4 to April 25,or shortly thereafter.
The Rasmea Defense Committee is urging supporters to pack the courtroom in Detroit. The defense committee states, “We are calling on all of Rasmea’s supporters to meet us on Tuesday, April 25, in front of the U.S. District Court at 231 W. Lafayette Blvd in downtown Detroit, Michigan, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time, for a rally before the 2:30 p.m. hearing.”