New York Protest For Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh, Facing Deportation On Immigration Charge Conviction

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Rasmea Odeh

Today a broad coalition of New Yorkers and human rights groups will attend a protest in support of Palestinian solidarity activist and United States political prisoner Rasmea Odeh. The demonstration, organized by Students For Justice in Palestine chapters throughout New York City, will take place today, outside of the United States Federal Court at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY, at 3:30pm.

On Monday November 10, 67-year-old Chicago-based activist Rasmea Odeh was unjustly found guilty on one count of Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization for allegedly failing to mention a 1969 conviction by the State of Israel, based on a confession obtained through brutal, sustained torture. Her conviction occurred in a military court that has a greater than 99% conviction rate for Palestinians.

Rasema Odeh’s 1969 confession was made after being held in Israeli custody, for twenty-five days, during which she was tortured and raped.

After Israeli security officials detained her father and threatened to force him to rape Ms. Odeh, she confessed to charges surrounding an unsolved bombing. Ms. Odeh has since spoke openly about her experience, including 1979 testimony before the United Nations in Geneva.

Ms. Odeh has resided in the United States for over twenty years. In 2005, when she filled out her naturalization paperwork, it asked if she had ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. Ms. Odeh answered no, believing that the question refered to her time in the US. After a many years-long investigation into a group of Chicago-based Palestinian solidarity activists, including Ms. Odeh, resulted in no indictments or evidence of wrongdoing, the federal government brought the present charges against Rasmea Odeh.

In a pre-trail ruling, Judge Gershwin Drain, who presided over Rasmea Odeh’s trial in the Federal District Court of Eastern Michigan, forbid Rasmea Odeh from testifying to the unjust circumstances under which her confession was obtained, despite deeming such evidence “credible.” As a result, the jury’ decision was based on biased and unfair information, largely from Israeli military records. She was found guilty and was remanded to custody until her sentencing hearing in March 2015, which is highly unusual in these types of immigration cases that often do not result in jail time. Attorney Lamis Deek, who has represented clients facing similar charges, states “that a woman like Rasmea could overcome tremendous Israeli torture and oppression, come to the United States and serve her community wholeheartedly, then be silenced by a charge that is often not even pursued in immigration courts speaks volumes about our justice system and is an outrageous show of bias and revenge by proxy.”

We will gather outside 26 Federal Plaza in solidarity with requests made by Rasmea Odeh and her legal defense team. Ms. Odeh’s conviction is, as CUNY SJP member Alexi Shalom says, “an attack on women’s rights, immigrant’s rights, Palestinian rights, freedom of speech, and justice.” We stand against this systematic injustice and in support of Rasmea Odeh.

Demonstration endorsed by: Adalah-NY, Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, American Muslims for Palestine, ANSWER Coalition NYC, Arab American Association of NY, BAYAN USA, The Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, CUNY for Palestine, NYC Solidarity with Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace-New York City Chapter, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Students for Justice in Palestine chapters across NYC, and dozens more.

For more information about Rasmea Odeh’s ongoing case, please visit the U.S Palestinian Community Network at or the Committee to Stop FBI Repression at

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