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Defense files motion to release political prisoner Rasmea Odeh from jail

By Mick Kelly |
November 18, 2014
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Detroit, MI - Michael E. Deutsch, one of the attorneys on the defense team of prominent Palestinian American leader Rasmea Odeh, filed a motion to Federal Court here, Nov. 14, asking Judge Gershwin Drain to reconsider his decision to revoke her bond.

On Nov. 10, Odeh was found guilty of a bogus immigration charge. In a courtroom packed with supporters, Judge Drain declared that Odeh was a “flight risk,” and she was taken to jail in handcuffs to be held until a March 10, 2015 sentencing.

Rasmea Odeh is currently being held in Saint Clair County Jail in Port Huron, Michigan, where the motion states “she has severely limited access to her counsel from Chicago, or so far no warm clothes or even a blanket.”

The defense motion notes that Judge Drain advanced several reasons for revoking Odeh’s bond, such as the claim she not have sufficient ties to the community, her attempted escape from an Israeli prison in 1975 and, given that her conviction includes allegedly making errors in filling out immigration paperwork, she had no incentive to return to court for sentencing.

Responding to Judge Drain’s assertion that Odeh lacked community sufficient ties, the motion states, “Ms. Odeh has unique and extraordinary ties to her community in Chicago, as shown in the first instance by the dozens of people who traveled from Chicago to sit in silent support, observing her trial. In addition to the people who came to Court, there are many established community and religious leaders, from her Muslim faith and others, who are willing to come and testify in her behalf.”

At every court appearance made by Odeh, supporters carrying signs and banners picketed outside the court building and packed the courtroom. During her trial, a special room was set up where people who could not fit in the trial court room could view the proceedings

The defense motion also speaks of Odeh’s important role as Chicago Palestinian community leader.

On the issue of Odeh attempting to escape from an Israeli prison, the motion addresses the “unspeakable” conditions that she endured while jailed by the Israeli occupation. Odeh was raped and tortured; her desire to escape from the illegal imprisonment by her torturers in 1975 should not be held against her today.

Finally, the motion notes that Odeh is fighting to stay in the U.S. - she turned down a plea agreement that would have allowed her time to wrap up her affairs - so it is not logical that she would miss future court proceedings.

Signaling plans to appeal Odeh’s conviction, the motion states, “To add to this, counsel for the defense strongly believe that Ms. Odeh has significant appealable issues which may well result in a reversal of her conviction and a new trial, and thus her premature incarceration is doubly unwarranted.”

Jess Sundin of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression urges supports of Rasmea Odeh to redouble their efforts to demand her release from jail.