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Rasmea Odeh appeal moves towards new trial

By Tom Burke |
June 14, 2016
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Rasmea Odeh (3rd from left) in Detroit. (FightBack!News/Staff)

Detroit, MI - Over 100 supporters of Rasmea Odeh chanted her name in excitement as she emerged from the Federal Court Building in downtown Detroit on June 13. The crowd could see on Odeh’s face that she had good news. Slightly embarrassed by all the attention,she eventually waved for supporters to cross the street and join her for a press conference.

Odeh then announced to the gathered reporters and Palestine solidarity activists that the discussions went well and that we were moving forward given the successful appeal. Odeh said, “We want you to continue to help build our movement across the country as we seek justice. I need you now more than ever. It is together that we can win.”

Odeh and her defense lawyers met with Judge Gershwin Drain and the U.S. prosecutors in Detroit on June 13. Outside the court, more than 100 people picketed, chanted and gave speeches for three hours.

Today’s court appearance follows Odeh’s victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6 th Circuit in Cincinnati on Oct. 14 last year. The appeal was successful, but it was not yet clear
whether it would lead to a new trial.

Defense attorney Michael Deutsch announced, “There is a tentative date for a new trial on January 10 of next year.” This caused many in the crowd to smile and cheer as they realized Judge Drain was accepting the appeals court rulings.

Deutsch follow up, “The next scheduled hearing will take place on Nov. 29 and we will argue for the PTSD experts to give testimony in a new trial. The government will argue against the PTSD expert testimony being allowed.”

Rasmea Odeh is a Palestinian woman dedicated to organizing women in the Arab American and other communities in Chicago. In fact, she has won public awards for her organizing
efforts. For more than two years now, she has been fighting political repression by the U.S. government. Technically she is charged with a minor immigration paper work violation,
but U.S. prosecutors have blown it up into a political case.

The PTSD expert matters because Odeh was tortured, made to sign a confession, and then imprisoned by an Israeli military occupation in 1969. Judge Drain never allowed Odeh to testify, nor to even mention the Israeli military torture and its impact on her. In attempting to deny the political nature of the U.S. prosecution of Rasmea Odeh, Judge Drain left no
room for a defense argument in his courtroom.

Mick Kelly of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression said, “The whole world knows about Rasmea because of our ongoing campaign. Our victories are adding up! This is a political trial carried out by an empire trying desperately to shore up an increasingly unpopular and unstable Israel. It is an injustice that charges were brought against Rasmea Odeh in the first place. So again we say, "Drop the charges now!"