September 18, 2014

FBI returns personal papers to Hatem Abudayyeh

Sept. 3 statement from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Recently, the FBI in Chicago returned to Hatem Abudayyeh the boxes of documents and personal effects they seized from his home four years ago.

Abudayyeh, a well known organizer in the Palestinian community of Chicago, had his home raided on Sept. 24, 2010, and was subpoenaed to a federal grand jury. The investigation involves a total of 23 people: anti-war and international solidarity activists, seven of them Palestinian.

“This is another victory, but it’s not over,” commented Abudayyeh. “According to Barry Jonas, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is the prosecutor in our case, the government has an eight year statute of limitations on this investigation.” 

Lawyers for the activists also believe that the statute gives the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago four more years to investigate.

“There’s no doubt that they copied all the documents, in addition to the thousands of documents seized from the homes of the other anti-war activists, so we’re not out of the woods yet,” continued Abudayyeh. “But this witch hunt must end. They’ve got nothing. All we did was work to end U.S. support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and that is not a crime.”

Rasmea Odeh the new target of Jonas

On Oct. 22, 2013, Barry Jonas played a role in the arrest of Rasmea Odeh, a legendary Palestinian leader in Chicago. Since her arrest, Odeh’s case has been linked to the case of the Anti-war 23. 

When all 23 refused to testify, with the support of a broad mass movement, the grand jury ground to a halt. The Department of Justice did not stop their efforts to suppress the movements for Palestine and against war, however. They first arrested Carlos Montes, a veteran Chicano activist from East Los Angeles. Thousands of people from around the country spent over a year defeating the prosecution of Montes.

Then the Department of Homeland Security came after Odeh on the pretext that she failed to disclose in her application for citizenship that she had been unjustly imprisoned by the Israeli occupiers of Palestine and tortured into confessing to a crime that she did not commit. 

Abudayyeh is the director of the Arab American Action Network, and Odeh is his co-worker. 

Jonas was present in court the morning Odeh was arrested. He has a long history of persecution of Palestinians in this country for their efforts to support their homeland. He was the prosecutor in the case of the Holy Land Five, the leaders of the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. They are in prison and sentenced for up to 65 years.

Prosecutors and judiciary work together to uphold Israel’s criminal occupation

The case against Odeh turns on a confession extracted through sadistic, sexual torture by the Israelis. Barry Jonas upholds tortured confessions, as do many judges. Odeh’s lawyers objected to Paul Borman in Detroit, the first judge assigned to her case, because of his close ties to Israel and support for the occupation of Palestine. They feared that he would be one of those judges for whom Israel’s record of torture posed no problem. Borman was compelled by legal action and public pressure to recuse himself and step down from the case.

Abudayyeh concluded: “Our efforts helped push Borman out of Rasmea’s case, but we have to redouble our efforts to support and defend her.”