New York, NY – The struggle is building to get justice for long time Palestinian American leader Rasmea Odeh as her defense attorneys and supports push back against new legal attacks.
Odeh’s case began on Oct. 17, 2013 when federal agents arrested her on a trumped-up immigration charge, alleging she failed to disclose her arrest 40-plus years ago in Israel. When Odeh and her defense team headed to trial in November 2014, they presented the presiding federal judge, Gershwin A. Drain, with solid evidence that Odeh didn’t disclose her arrest on the 20-year-old immigration form because she was suffering from PTSD as a direct result of torture by the hands of the Israeli military. However, Judge Drain deemed the evidence inadmissible and Odeh was convicted on these charges.
Odeh and her legal team didn’t give up. They pushed for an appeal and Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Judge Drain should have accepted the expert testimony concerning Odeh’s mental state.
This Nov. 29, Judge Drain will assess arguments on whether Dr. Mary Fabri’s expert testimony is valid and scientifically sound to accept for the case. Dr. Fabri is a renowned psychologist who has worked closely with torture survivors.
Prosecutors are making motions to “examine” Odeh before the Nov. 29 hearing. This move is an attempt to intimidate Odeh. A statement from the Rasmea Defense Committee notes, “Such an examination is irrelevant as to whether Dr. Fabri’s testimony is reliable and applicable. Nothing asked of Rasmea would change Dr. Fabri’s credentials as an internationally recognized expert on PTSD, or her ability to opine on how Rasmea’s PTSD affected her mental state during any of the dates in question.”
The Committee also states, “ We will rally at the courthouse at 231 W. Lafayette Boulevard, in downtown Detroit, Michigan, on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, and then pack the courtroom at 11 a.m. as Judge Drain decides whether to allow the government to ‘examine’ Rasmea.”
Jessica Schwartz, an organizer with the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, said this regarding the upcoming hearings, “The FBI is targeting Rasmea because of her undying dedication to her homeland Palestine and the Arab and Muslim communities in Chicago. It fits in with their U.S./Zionist agenda of silencing dissenting voices against the Israeli occupation and against the U.S. involvement in wars around the globe. Rasmea is a survivor of Israeli rape and torture, and has continued to fight for the people, empowering women and youth in her community. As long as the enemy attacks heroes of the people, the people will stand up and fight back.”