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Indybay Feature
Sat Jun 28 2014 (Updated 07/01/14)
San José Protest in Support of Rasmea Odeh
Sat Jun 28 2014 (Updated 07/01/14)
Activist Devoted to Empowerment of Arab Women Faces Deportation
On June 10, activists rallied in front of Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San José to protest the unjust prosecution of 66-year-old Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh. Last October, Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh after the Department of Justice charged her with “unlawful procurement of naturalization.” The Obama administration’s filing of these charges could result in her being stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported.

The DOJ alleges that she improperly omitted mention in the application of having been in prison in Israel, but supporters claim the facts tell a different story. Odeh was arrested by Israeli soldiers as a 21-year-old university student in her home in Ramallah, but she was tortured, along with her father, for 45 days, and sentenced to prison for a crime she did not commit.

Odeh is well known in Chicago, where she has worked as associate director of the Arab American Action Network to defend civil liberties and promote immigrant rights. Last year, the Chicago Cultural Alliance bestowed on her its Outstanding Community Leader Award in recognition of her devoting “over 40 year of her life to the empowerment of Arab women.”

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