November 18, 2014

Rasmea Defense Committee demands #FreeRasmeaNow!

After an unjust conviction November 10th, U.S. Marshals placed our beloved leader Rasmea Odeh in handcuffs and under arrest. Our immediate and urgent task is to get her released from jail immediately!

Many of you have already taken part in the National Week of Actions to #FreeRasmeaNow – over a dozen events and protests in cities across the country. From the activists who carried out civil disobedience, locking down the federal court building in Oakland, to the hundreds of friends, family, and community members who rallied in Chicago, we are doing what Rasmea asked: We’ve stopped the tears, and are speaking out in a strong and unified voice. 

This past week, Rasmea’s attorneys filed two important motions in her defense:

The first defense motion calls on Judge Gershwin Drain to reconsider his decision to jail Rasmea pending sentencing, which is not scheduled until March 10, 2015, almost four months from now. She is 67 years old, and neither a flight risk nor a danger to society. She suffers from high blood pressure and does not have her medication with her, and in addition, expert clinical psychologist Dr. Mary Fabri believes strongly that this detention could easily trigger Rasmea’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The motion also included almost 300 signatures on a petition, confirming her strong community ties; powerful support letters from the 8th Day Center for Justice and Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, respectively; and testimony that Rasmea has close family in Chicago.

The government is required to respond to this motion by November 19, and after that, the judge could rule quickly. As we await that ruling, we need to keep up the pressure. Two hundred individual and organizational letters have already been submitted by supporters to Judge Drain, urging him to release Rasmea now, but there is still time to collect more. Please send a letter to Judge Drain: Use the sample letter here and send yours to justice4rasmea@uspcn.org right away.

The second defense motion asks the judge to set aside the jury’s November 10 verdict and either acquit her or schedule a new trial. It argues that there was not sufficient evidence presented at trial to prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and describes how Rasmea was denied her “right to present a complete defense.” This motion puts on record the many injustices that led to the guilty verdict.

Send letters to Rasmea:

Some of you have already sent letters to Rasmea. She has called her Chicago colleagues from jail twice and written letters to them, and received a few visitors as well. Her spirits are high and she is looking forward to the next step in the fight for justice in her case. We encourage you to continue to send these letters to her. (Please remember that prison authorities will read all of these letters before Rasmea gets them.)

Rasmieh Odeh #144979
St. Clair County Jail
1170 Michigan
Port Huron, MI. 48060

Fundraise and contribute to Rasmea’s defense! Your contributions can support Rasmea’s commissary (expenses for phone calls, letters, blankets, warm clothing, etc.) while she is jailed, as well as the legal defense and ongoing community organizing. We will be filing an appeal of this unjust verdict, and that will take resources.

There have been a few discussions with U.S. Senators and Representatives, because Congress also has the responsibility to help get Rasmea released pending sentencing. If you have close contacts with legislators, let us know by emailing justice4rasmea@uspcn.org.

Spread the word! When publicizing on social media, use the hashtags #Justice4Rasmea and #FreeRasmeaNow.

For more information visit USPCN.org and StopFBI.net.

The national Rasmea Defense Committee includes United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR), Coalition to Protect People’s Rights (CPPR), 8th Day Center for Justice, Al-Awda NY: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)-Chicago, American Muslims for Palestine, Anti-War Committee (AWC)-Chicago, AWC-Minneapolis, Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Light Brigade, Committee Against Political Repression, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago, CAIR-Michigan, Friends of Sabeel-North America, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, International League of Peoples’ Struggle-U.S., Jewish Voice for Peace, Korean Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC), Latino Organization of the Southwest (LOS), Lifta Society, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice (MECAWI), Middle East Crisis Committee (CT), Milwaukee Palestine Solidarity Coalition, National Boricua Human Rights Network, National Lawyers Guild (NLG), National Students for Justice in Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, Palestinian Youth Movement-USA Branch, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, United African Organization, United National Antiwar Coalition, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Voces de la Frontera, Women Against Military Madness, and Z Collective.