Jewish Group calls for Court to Drop Unjust Charges against Palestinian-American Leader, Rasmea Odeh

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Jewish Group calls for Court to Drop Unjust Charges against Palestinian-American Leader, Rasmea Odeh

October 12, 2015 – Jewish Voice for Peace stands with Rasmea Odeh and her supporters as she challenges her conviction arising from her immigration to the United States in 1995.  On October 14, 2015 the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, Ohio, heard the appeal of Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian-American community organizer who is facing deportation and imprisonment after being unjustly convicted of unlawful procurement of naturalization.

Rasmea is a respected Chicago-area Palestinian-American community organizer and long-time activist for justice. Rasmea has worked with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) since 2004, and is responsible for the management of day-to-day operations and the coordination of its Arab Women’s Committee, which has a membership of nearly 600 and leads the organization’s work in the areas of defending civil liberties and immigrants’ rights.

In 2013, Rasmea, then sixty-six years old, was arrested at her home by Department of Homeland Security agents. She was indicted in federal court for failing to disclose on her naturalization forms 20 years ago that she was convicted of participation in a 1969 bombing on the basis of a confession obtained under torture in the Israeli military court system. Rasmea testified at the United Nations about this torture and abuse upon her release in 1979.

23 anti-war and Palestinian rights activists were investigated and subpoenaed by the federal government in 2010. Rasmea’s lawyers and supporters believe that the investigation into her naturalization paperwork nearly 20 years later was prompted by the Islamophobia and racism of a justice system that has targeted Rasmea for her activism in support of Palestinian rights.

People across the political spectrum rightfully reject confessions obtained by torture,” said Mark Sniderman of Jewish Voice for Peace — Indiana.  “The trial court, however, allowed the “confession” into evidence, and violated this principle.  But the court’s refusal to allow Rasmea to explain — or even mention — the torture inflicted upon her, heaps constitutional insult upon injury.  No reasonable jury armed with the full account of Rasmea’s persecution would have convicted her.”

Jewish Voice for Peace calls on the Sixth Circuit to overturn Rasmea’s unjust conviction and allow her to return to her family and her work for justice and human rights.

For more information about Rasmea’s case, see: http://justice4rasmea.org/.

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