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Tampa activists demand charges against Rasmea Odeh be dismissed

By Jessica Schwartz |
October 3, 2014
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Tampa, FL - On Oct. 2, a group of 15 activists stood outside the Sam Gibbons Federal Courthouse here, to demand U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh. The Committee to Stop FBI Repression-Tampa organized the protest.

Rasmea Odeh is a 67-year-old Palestinian American activist from Chicago facing charges due to her work organizing Arab American and Muslim women for freedom. On Oct. 2 at her hearing in Detroit, Judge Drain denied the motion to dismiss the charge against her. The charge is based on the fact that Odeh did not report her imprisonment by the Israeli military. Odeh was physically and sexually tortured into a confession by Israeli soldiers for a crime she did not commit. U.S. Prosecutor Tukel is attempting to keep that information out of the trial.

Jared Hoey spoke on behalf of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and tied Odeh’s case to the Anti-war 23. They are a group of international solidarity activists whose homes were raided by the FBI in September 2010. This came two years after the FBI inserted a spy into their groups for over two years. Judge Drain denied the defense motion that cited the illegally-collected evidence from the Anti-war 23 case, with no explanation.

Marisol Marquez of immigrant rights group Raices en Tampa spoke about Odeh being targeted because she is Palestinian and a community organizer, "The immigrants rights group Raices en Tampa supports Rasmea and doesn't want her to be deported. We are firmly against deportations!"

Gage Lacharite of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) explained, “One thing Odeh’s case has taught us is the strength we can have when we band together. Together, we were able to organize support across the country. Together, we were able to make the fiercely Zionist Judge Borman step down from the case. Together today we are showing the public the truth - this is a case of political persecution.”

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression -Tampa plans to go back out again on Oct. 21, when Odeh has her next status hearing before her trial in November.

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