[Pnews] Prosecutors back down - Rasmea Odeh to be released on bail today

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 11 10:20:22 EST 2014

  US prosecutors trying to block Rasmea Odeh's release from jail

Submitted by Charlotte Silver on Wed, 12/10/2014 - 22:17

    Update: US backs down

Supporters of Rasmea Odeh say government prosecutors have backed down 
from their latest attempt to delay the Palestinian American community 
leader's release from jail.

Assisant US Attorney Jonathan Tukel withdrew the government's motion 
challenging the source of the $50,000 that will be used to pay Odeh's 
bond, according to a statement from the Rasmea Defense Committee, 
published by the US Palestinian Community Network 
on Wednesday evening.

The retreat came after US prosecutors deposed -- or questioned -- the 
anonymous donor who has put up the money.

According to the statement, the prosecutors asked whether the donor "is 
actually a friend or only a political supporter" of Odeh, "as well as 
challenging the donor's views on Israeli military courts, the decisions 
of Judge Drain in the case, and the treatment of Palestinians by US 
federal courts."

Odeh's Detroit-based attorney William Goodman "objected to all of these 
political questions as irrelevant to the proceedings," the statement says.

"Their actions are nothing but punitive in nature, and their questioning 
of the donor clearly affirms that their politics and ideology, not the 
law, govern their work," Hatem Abudayyeh said in the statement, 
referring to the prosecutors.

If there are no further surprises, Abudayyeh, a lead organizer in the 
Rasmea Defense Committee, expects that bond will be posted on Thursday 
morning, and Odeh could be on her way back to Chicago that afternoon.

    Original post

Federal prosecutors in Michigan are trying to stop Rasmea Odeh getting 
out of jail.

On Monday, US District Judge Gershwin Drain granted a defense motion 
to allow the Palestinian American community leader to go free on bond 
pending sentencing. This reversed a decision he made to jail her 
immediately after she was found guilty of immigration fraud in November.

But now prosecutors have raised objections to the source of $50,000 that 
would be used to pay her bond and get her out of the St. Clair County 
Jail in Port Huron, about an hour north of Detroit, where she has been 
held for exactly a month.

The bond will allow Odeh, 67, to return home to Chicago until her 10 
March sentencing. The judge's order requires her to report to a 
probation officer every two weeks, restricts her travel and 
prohibits her from obtaining a new passport.

The news of Drain's decision cheered Odeh's supporters, who had grown 
increasingly concerned over reports she had been held in sustained 
solitary confinement 
and was receiving inadequate medical attention.

But last night, lead US prosecutor Jonathan Tukel filed a motion with 
the court 
questioning the source of the bond money.

Citing the online requests for donations to support the Rasmea Defense 
Committee on stopFBI.net 
and US Palestinian Community Network 
Tukel asserted that, "It is difficult to see how money raised by large 
numbers of people creates any incentive for Defendant Odeh to appear. It 
is likely she would suffer no personal loss by virtue of its forfeiture."

Following the prosecution's motion, Drain scheduled a hearing for 
tomorrow, 11 December, in Detroit.

    "Moot Argument"

Hatem Abudayyeh, one of the lead organizers of the Rasmea Defense 
Committee, said, "The argument from the prosecution is moot."

Speaking to The Electronic Intifada while en route to Detroit for 
tomorrow's hearing, Abudayyeh explained: "We didn't raise the bond by 
raising a bunch of one-dollar donations from thousands of people. We 
raised it with one person, who is a close friend and knows Odeh well. He 
is posting the entire bond."

The Chicago-based person is being deposed today about his relationship 
with Odeh, and his testimony will be presented at tomorrow's hearing. 
Odeh will also testify tomorrow.

"She would never flee and force him to lose what is essentially his life 
savings," Abudayyeh said.

Abudayyeh is executive director of the Arab American Action Network, a 
Chicago organization that works with Arab immigrants in the city, where 
Odeh serves as associate director.

    Punishment for exercising due process?

Odeh's defense has filed a motion for a new trial, citing several 
grievances with the way November trial was conducted. The prosecution 
and Drain have used Odeh's dissatisfaction with the trial and guilty 
verdict as justification to keep her detained.

Drain wrote in his ruling on Monday, "It is of course not lost on this 
Court that Defendant's testimony concerning her escape from prison in 
Israel suggests her belief that her actions were warranted because her 
conviction was unjustified. Defendant has expressed a similar feeling 
concerning her recent conviction for unlawful procurement of 

Odeh's conviction stems from her failure to disclose in an immigration 
form her 1969 conviction in an Israeli military court for a role in two 
bombings. Odeh has consistently stated that the conviction was based on 
a confession Israeli interrogators  extracted through prolonged torture 
and sexual assault 

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