Status Hearing in Detroit July 31
Join the National Rasmea Defense Committee--United States Palestinian Community Network, Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR), Coalition to Protect People's Rights (CPPR), American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)-Chicago, American Muslims for Palestine, Anti-War Committee (AWC)-Chicago, AWC-Minneapolis, Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Committee Against Political Repression, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago, CAIR-Michigan, Friends of Sabeel-North America, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, International League of Peoples' Struggle-U.S., Jewish Voice for Peace, Lifta Society, National Lawyers Guild (NLG), National Students for Justice in Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, Palestinian Youth Movement-USA Branch, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, United National Antiwar Coalition, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and many others--as we accompany Rasmea Odeh to Detroit for a very important status hearing on Thursday, July 31st, 2014.
231 W. Lafayette Blvd., in Detroit, Michigan
WHEN: We will gather on Thursday, July 31st, at 1 PM Eastern Standard Time (hearing begins at 2 PM EST)
* There are cars departing Chicago at 6:30 AM on July 31st. If you want a seat in one of the cars, or if you are planning to drive and can take others, please write to Joe Iosbaker of CSFR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** In addition, for those who cannot go to Detroit, we are calling for support rallies to be organized across the country on the day of the hearing. Already, Minneapolis' Anti-War Committee has one scheduled, and we will announce others.
*** Lastly, call the prosecutors on July 31st and demand that they drop the charges!
Thursday, July 31, 9 am to 5 pm Eastern Time
Call Jonathan Tukel in Detroit at 313-226-9749 Chief of National Security Unit, U.S. Attorney’s office, Eastern District of Michigan
When you call, you can say, “Hello, my name is ________, and I am calling from _________ to demand that U.S. Attorney McQuade drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh."
Background: On October 22nd, 2013, Rasmea was arrested by the Department of Homeland Security and charged with Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, for allegedly failing to disclose that she had been imprisoned by the Israelis in Palestine over 45 years ago. The wrongful conviction in Palestine was the result of vicious physical and sexual torture by the Israelis, so Rasmea is fighting this U.S. charge in a Detroit courtroom, where the full trial begins on September 8th.
Like so many other victims of political repression in this country, especially African Americans; Puerto Ricans; Mexicans, Latinos, and other immigrants; Arabs and Muslims; and peace activists; she has committed no crime, and is only under attack because she is a Palestinian icon, known worldwide as a leading representative of the legitimate Palestinian struggle for self determination, independence, and the Right of Return.
Please join us in Detroit for this status hearing. We must fill the courtroom, and be outside with our banners, posters, and flags--to show the judge, the prosecutors, and the whole world that Rasmea has broad and unqualified support.
Replace pro-Israeli judge, say Odeh lawyers (published July 16th)
In a major development, attorneys for Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh filed a motion July 14th, calling for Judge Paul D. Borman to step down from the case. The supporting brief argues that Borman, as a life-long and dedicated supporter of Israel, cannot play the “neutral and detached” role that the law requires.
A spurious report from the Associated Press irresponsibly presumes that the defense is bringing this motion because Judge Borman is an American Jew. Odeh and her attorneys, including Michael Deutsch, who is an American Jew himself, deny this, noting that the motion and supporting brief extensively document Borman’s close ties to the State of Israel, never once mentioning his religion. The AP article has been picked up across the country, and the national Rasmea Defense Committee demands a retraction.
Odeh has pled not guilty to Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, a charge alleging that she failed to mention, in her 2004 application for U.S. citizenship, that she was arrested in Palestine 45 years ago, and tried in an Israeli military court that “convicts” 99.74% of Palestinians who come before it. Odeh was physically and sexually tortured into a confession by Israeli prison authorities in 1969.
The motion describes how this is important to her defense: “The defendant’s case directly raises issues about the legality of the continuing 47 year belligerent occupation of the West Bank by the State of Israel and the State’s policy of sanctioning the systematic torture of Palestinian detainees by the Israeli military and security police.”
In the papers filed with the court this week, attorneys Deutsch and James Fennerty describe Judge Borman’s long history of support for Israel, including fund raising for, and donating millions of dollars of his own money to the state. They argue: “Clearly, one who has been a life-long supporter and promoter of Israel and has deep ties to the State of Israel spanning over 50 years, who no doubts believes that Israel is a great democracy and protector of human rights, cannot be ‘reasonably’ said to be impartial when these claims of torture and illegality are raised by a Palestinian defendant.
“Further, it is reasonable to conclude that as a result of this Court’s many trips to Israel, and its active support and substantial efforts in fund raising for the State of Israel, that this Court has ‘personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning this case.’”
According to one of the defense committee’s spokespeople, Hatem Abudayyeh, “This motion is about trying to get Rasmea a fair trial. Borman’s bias is clear.
“Winning this case is not limited to a legal strategy,” Abudayyeh continued. “Thousands of people from across the country are supporting and fighting for Rasmea Odeh. We are urging the government to drop the charges against her. If they don’t, we are mobilizing to fill the courtroom every day of the trial.”
The trial is set for September 8 in Detroit.
Step Down, Judge Borman!