National Lawyers Guild demands charges against Rasmea Odeh be dropped

National Lawyers Guild demands charges against Rasmea Odeh be dropped

The following Resolution was adopted by the National Lawyers Guild on October 26, 2013 at its 76th Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, demanding that charges against Palestinian American activist nlg_logoRasmea Odeh be dropped immediately, strongly condemning her arrest.

The National Lawyers Guild, founded in 1937, is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.

EMERGENCY RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO RASMEA YOUSEF ODEH’S ARREST BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

WHEREAS the Department of Homeland Security arrested Rasmea Yousef Odeh, a longtime and well-respected Palestinian activist in the United States, at her home on October 22, 2013, alleging an immigration violation on a 20-year-old application;

WHEREAS Ms. Odeh, a 65-year-old Palestinian woman, is a leading member of Chicago’s Arab and Muslim communities and has changed the lives of thousands of people through a decade of service in the city of Chicago;

WHEREAS Ms. Odeh has been with Chicago’s Arab American Action Network since 2004 and, as associate director, manages its Arab Women’s Committee, which plays a leading role in defending people’s civil liberties and immigrant rights;

WHEREAS Ms. Odeh received the “Outstanding Community Leader Award” from the Chicago Cultural Alliance, which described her as a woman who has “dedicated over 40 years of her life to the empowerment of Arab women, first in her homes of Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon, where she was an activist and practicing attorney, and then the past 10 years in Chicago;”

WHEREAS the politically motivated charges against Ms. Odeh stem from her arrest and detention by the Israeli Occupation Forces in 1969, resulting from a military trial of a civilian under the auspices of an Israeli apartheid system that systematically denies Palestinians even a modicum of due process and civil rights;

WHEREAS Ms. Odeh was held in solitary confinement and tortured while in Israeli prison for ten years;

WHEREAS Ms. Odeh’s arrest is yet another manifestation of the federal government’s campaign against activists promoting justice in the Arab and Muslim world and advocating a change in U.S. foreign policy toward Palestine;

WHEREAS the United States government should not use its own laws and criminal justice system to enforce Israel’s apartheid system on Ms. Odeh and all other Palestinians and Arabs living in the United States;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD,

MEETING AT ITS OCTOBER 2013 CONVENTION IN PUERTO RICO, condemns in the strongest terms Ms. Odeh’s arrest on the grounds that it is an egregious abuse of prosecutorial discretion and a part of systematic attempts to intimidate Arabs and Muslims in the United States from organizing within their communities for civil rights, social justice and Palestinian self-determination, and unequivocally urges that all charges against Ms. Odeh be dropped immediately in the interest of justice.

IMPLEMENTATION: This resolution, upon adoption by this body, will be presented to Barbara McQuade, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, urging her to immediately drop all charges against Ms. Odeh now, and publicized by the Palestine Subcommittee.

SUBMITTED BY: Andrew Dalack, ajdalack@gmail.com, Charlotte Kates charlotte.kates@gmail.com, National Lawyers Guild Palestine Subcommittee

Adopted by the National Lawyers Guild

October 26, 2013

76th Convention, San Juan, Puerto Rico