New Statement from the Rasmea Defense Committee:
Prosecutors “Vindictive” After Losing on Appeal
Today, the lawyers defending Palestinian American activist Rasmea Odeh moved to dismiss the new indictment that was brought against her in December 2016. The motion and supporting brief argue that the government’s “superseding indictment has substantially broadened the scope of the trial and the evidence that will be relevant and at issue.”
It also states that the new indictment, filed well beyond the statute of limitations in immigration law, is so different from the original 2013 indictment that it cannot be accepted by the court. The statute of limitations for the alleged 2004 offense is 10 years. This new indictment tries to bring fundamentally different charges against Rasmea.
Finally, Rasmea’s defense exposes the U.S. Attorney’s filing of the superseding indictment as a retaliatory and vindictive act. The conviction that the prosecutors won in court in 2014 was overturned in 2016 because the court violated Rasmea’s right to a full defense. She was not allowed to present expert testimony that she suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the torture she suffered at the hands of her Israeli captors in Palestine in 1969. Now the desperate prosecution is trying to bring terrorism charges against her. This is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to prejudice the jury by using buzz words such as “terrorism” to paint an unfavorable view of Rasmea.
When she was first falsely charged with a crime by the Israelis in 1969, Rasmea had been arrested along with close to 500 others in Jerusalem. The occupation forces of the Israeli military singled out Rasmea to force her into a confession, through the use of physical, psychological, and sexual torture. It is well known that Israeli documents from that unlawful conviction were the ones used by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit to bring charges against her in 2013. Rasmea’s attorneys had previously challenged the judge’s allowance of these documents into evidence, since they were procured by documented torture in another country.
During her first trial, Judge Gershwin Drain repeatedly stated that he would not allow the retrying of Rasmea for the allegations against her from 45 years earlier. The motion filed today states, “Now that this Court has properly ruled that the PTSD testimony is admissible, the government wants to convert this trial into a political one about terrorism, and the defendant’s acts and affiliations almost fifty years after the fact.”
“We believe that we have a strong case,” said Bassem Kawar of the Rasmea Defense Committee. “It is clear that the prosecutors are desperately trying to levy ridiculous charges at Rasmea, in hopes that they can confuse the jury and distract them from the evidence of torture and PTSD that will be presented at the new trial.”