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Nationwide solidarity events for Rasmea Odeh a big success

By Tom Burke |
June 13, 2015
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At the Rasmea solidarity event in Albuquerque, New Mexico
At the Rasmea solidarity event in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Chicago, IL - Activists gathered at events around the country to hear Rasmea Odeh and defense attorney Michael Deutsch speak by videoconference, June 11. Deutsch explained the legal basis for Rasmea Odeh’s appeal, explaining that the trial and sentencing were both unfair. He also said while Rasmea Odeh is free now, that may come to a quick end in Cincinnati if the appeal is lost.

Anti-war, Palestine solidarity and civil liberty activists gathered for the videoconference in New York, Albuquerque, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Spokane, Tampa and Tucson and other locations.

Sarah Martin, of the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression, told those in attendance at the Twin Cities event that it was necessary to shine a light on the injustice that is being done to Odeh and that a broad mobilization is needed to defend her. Martin is one of the 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists targeted in the same investigation that led to the arrest of Odeh.

Rasmea Odeh is a 68-year-old icon for Arab American women. She was tortured and imprisoned by the occupying Israeli military in 1969 and targeted for political repression in 2013 by the U.S. government.

In a Detroit court, Odeh was gagged from speaking about the Israeli military torture. Attorney Deutsch was not allowed to raise a defense based on her suffering from PTSD, and therefore could not present an expert witness. With no chance of a fair trial, Odeh was found guilty.

Outrageously, the judge in the case went beyond the sentencing guidelines given the minor immigration charges against her. Odeh was sentenced to 18 months in prison, followed by deportation. She is currently at home in Chicago preparing her appeal.

The appeal oral arguments are expected to take in Cincinnati, Ohio at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Many groups and activists from around the country are planning to go to Cincinnati and stand in solidarity with Rasmea, most likely in September.