Rasmea Odeh Accepts Plea Agreement
THE RASMEA ODEH defense campaign issued a statement on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017, announcing that “Rasmea Odeh, the 69-year old Palestinian American community leader who was tortured and sexually assaulted by the Israeli military in 1969, is bringing to a close her battle to win justice from the U.S. legal system.”
The statement is online at http://justice4rasmea.org/news/2017/03/23/rasmea-accepts-plea-deal/. The following is an excerpt.
“After living in this country for over 20 years, Rasmea was charged in 2013 with an immigration violation that was always just a pretext for a broader attempt to criminalize the Palestine liberation movement. She has spent the last three and a half years leading a powerful battle to resist this attack, joined by hundreds of supporters for every court appearance, and thousands of supporters across the country and the world.
“However, the prospects for a fair trial are slimmer than ever. The prosecution team is now under the regime of racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a new superseding indictment re-frames this as a case about “terrorism” rather than immigration. There is the great likelihood that a jury would be prejudiced by hearing the zionist Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel call Rasmea a ‘terrorist’ and her supporters ‘mobs and hordes,’ as he has done many times before.
“In 1969, as a college student, Rasmea was arrested by the Israeli police, along with as many as 500 others, and accused of involvement in two bombings. She was horrifically tortured for 25 days (including electric shocks and sexual assault), as was her father in her presence; and then tried before a kangaroo Israeli military court.
“In her 2014 trial in U.S. federal court, where she was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for allegedly giving false answers to questions on her applications for permanent residency and citizenship, Judge Gershwin Drain prohibited the defense from challenging the legality of the military tribunal or offering proof of her innocence of the bombings.
“She was also not allowed to put forward that she suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the torture, but she won an appeal and a new trial expressly based on the excluded torture evidence. Its back against the wall, the government then filed a vindictive new superseding indictment that falsely accused Rasmea of being a ‘terrorist’ and a member of a ‘designated terrorist organization.’
“Under this current, racist political climate, and facing 18 months or more of imprisonment, as well as the possibility of indefinite detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Rasmea has made the difficult decision to accept a plea agreement. She will plead guilty to Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, lose her U.S. citizenship, and be forced to leave the country, but will exit the U.S. without having to serve any more time in prison or ICE detention, a victory, considering that the government had earlier fought for a sentence of 5-7 years.
“Rasmea’s choice today was not easy, but nothing in this journey has been, and our support continues to be critical.
“Soon, a hearing date will be set for Judge Drain to consider the plea agreement. We will again call for All Out to Detroit and stand beside her on that difficult day. After that, Rasmea will continue her incredible organizing work wherever she is, and so will we. As she said to supporters outside the courthouse after the initial verdict, ‘There is justice in this world, we will find it. We will face injustice and we have to change this world, not just in this country, in all the world in all the places there is no justice, we have to bring the justice together. In spite of everything, we are the stronger people, not the government who is unjust.’”
May-June 2017, ATC 188