May 28, 2014

New date of October 21st set for trial of Rasmea Odeh

Palestinian American organizer from Chicago, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, appeared in U.S. District Court in Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014, with a new attorney, Michael Deutsch of the People’s Law Office in Chicago.  Deutsch filed an official appearance as Odeh’s representative, and was granted a continuance on her trial until October 21st, 2014.  Judge Paul Borman also ruled that the deadline for pre-trial motions had passed, and seemed reluctant to budge on this issue, but Deutsch stated afterward that “as the case develops, hopefully, he’ll be more flexible.”  

Odeh is being charged with Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, but is strongly asserting her innocence.  Deutsch, who has represented political activists and victims of police and government civil rights violations since 1970, was pleased with the ruling and has begun working on a strategy for the defense. 

The Rasmea Defense Committee, which, since Odeh’s arrest and release on bond last October, has been demanding that the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara McQuade, drop the charges immediately.  Rania Shkairat, a member of this committee in Chicago, said, “We are extremely happy that such a prominent attorney as Michael Deutsch is on the case, and that we now have more time to continue our organizing to pressure the government to drop the charge.  Rasmea is a wonderful role model for women like me who have dedicated their lives to social justice, and we will do everything in our power to clear her name.”

Hundreds of supporters of Rasmea were mobilizing to pack the courtroom in Detroit on June 10th, the original trial start date.  Even though there is now a continuance, the defense committee is still raising the calls, “All Out for Detroit!” and “Drop the Charges Now!”