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Twin Cities joins national week of actions for Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh

By staff

Protest vigil and live stream speaking event planned for Feb. 13

Minneapolis, MN – Protests, speaking events and fundraisers are being organized across the U.S. as part of the growing national movement to win justice for Rasmea Odeh. Two events will take place in the Twin Cities on Friday, Feb. 13. First is the weekly Palestine Solidarity Vigil to Demand Justice for Rasmea, 4:30 to 5:30 at the intersection of Summit and Snelling Avenues in Saint Paul, followed by a speech by Rasmea Odeh, via live stream, which will be at the center of an event running from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 4200 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis.

After her speech, Odeh will answer questions from supporters across the country. The Minneapolis event will also feature local anti-war activists targeted by 2010 FBI raids and a grand jury investigation. That investigation swept up 23 activists, and then turned to some of their associates, including Odeh, a co-worker of one of the original activists targeted in the case. These activists are organizing the Twin Cities events, with the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.

Odeh is a 67-year-old Palestinian community leader in Chicago. In November 2014 in Detroit, she was convicted on charges of Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, for allegedly giving untruthful answers on her application for U.S. citizenship over a decade ago. The charge is based on her 1969 arrest in Palestine by Israeli Occupation Forces. She was sexually assaulted and tortured into a false confession, and that conviction by the Israelis in 1970 was used against her in the U.S. case.

Jess Sundin, one of the Minnesotans who joined hundreds of Odeh’s supporters at the trial, said the verdict was unfair. “There was no sense of justice in that courtroom, where Judge Gershwin Drain allowed Rasmea to be painted as a terrorist, but did not allow her to speak freely in her own defense. The jury never heard about the rape and torture that Rasmea survived. And they never heard the testimony of a renowned torture expert on how those events, and the post-traumatic stress disorder Rasmea lives with, would affect her as she navigated the immigration process. The jury never heard the truth in this case: Rasmea is innocent.”

Mick Kelly, who also attend the November trial in Detroit said, “This is a critical time. At her sentencing on March 12, Rasmea Odeh faces up to 10 years in prison and deportation. We will stand with her at that sentencing hearing, and through her appeal. This week’s events are part of a growing national effort to win justice for Palestinian liberation icon, Rasmea Odeh.”

In addition to the Twin Cities plans, events will be held in Seattle, New York City, Dallas, Tampa, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, Tucson, Grand Rapids, the Bay Area, Washington D.C. and other cities.

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