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Political trial for beloved women’s activist Rasmea Odeh set to begin Nov. 4

By staff |
November 3, 2014
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Detroit, Mi – On Tuesday, Nov. 4, a federal trial will get underway here of longtime women’s rights advocate and Palestinian American leader Rasmea Odeh. She will face a charge of procuring her citizenship unlawfully by allegedly omitting an answer on her citizenship application 10 years ago. The stakes are high say Odeh’s defenders; she faces revocation of her citizenship, 10 years imprisonment, and eventual deportation.

Jury selection is set to begin at 9 a.m., Tuesday, November 4th, at the US District Court, 231 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit.

For the past year, Odeh’s defense committee has built a nationwide network of supporters who have worked hard to raise awareness about the political and unjust nature of the case. Prosecutors have hit back hard, accusing supporters of “jury tampering,” though no jury has been seated yet, insinuating that the supporters’ actions were “almost certainly criminal” and derogatorily describing them as “mobs” and “hordes.” Over 100 of these supporters are expected to be in the courtroom Nov. 4, including a busload traveling from Chicago.

In 1969, the Israeli military arrested Odeh along with 500 others. After weeks of torture and rape, Odeh confessed to a crime she did not commit and spent 10 years in an Israeli prison. In a ruling that came earlier this week, Judge Gershwin Drain agreed that Odeh’s account of torture was “credible.” Nonetheless, he ruled the torture and the fact her confession was coerced were not admissible, effectively gutting her entire defense and calling into question whether Odeh will receive a fair trial. Meanwhile, Judge Drain is allowing prosecutors to use evidence supplied by Israel from the 45-year-old case.

For Odeh’s supporters, the case is one more in a long line of government efforts to disrupt the vibrant Palestinian human rights activist community, it has seen more than its share of prosecutions and federal intimidation. In one of the latest of several cases that have occurred since 2001, federal agents raided the homes of activists and subpoenaed 23 in 2010, to force them to appear before a grand jury investigating Palestine support work. All 23 refused to testify.

Odeh’s supporters, coming from throughout the Midwest, plan to pack the courtroom throughout the trial. On Tuesday, Nov. 4, after the trial adjourns for the day at 1 p.m., they will rally outside the courthouse. Daily rallies will take place at the courthouse beginning on Wednesday, from 8-8:20 a.m. and again after adjournment around 1 pm each day.

For more information and background on Rasmea Odeh’s case, go to http://www.uspcn.org and http://www.stopfbi.net.

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