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Why Is Obama Prosecuting this Torture Victim?

by Josh Ruebner, Policy Director
June 10th, 2014

Take Action: Get DoJ to Drop Charges against Rasmea Odeh

Last November, we asked you to write U.S. District Attorney Barbara McQuade calling on her to drop charges against Rasmea Odeh, the 67-year-old Palestinian-American Associate Director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago.

In 1969, Israel brutally tortured Rasmea, her father, and her fiancé, eventually extracting from her a “confession” to a crime which she did not commit. Last year, the Obama administration dusted off her ten-year-old application to become a U.S. citizen and charged her with “unlawful procurement of naturalization” for allegedly omitting mention of her time in Israeli prison, despite the fact that Rasmea publicly testified at the UN about the torture she suffered while imprisoned.

Rather than prosecute this torture victim and well-respected community organizer—honored by the Chicago Cultural Alliance last year with its “Outstanding Community Leader Award” in recognition of her devoting “over 40 years of her life to the empowerment of Arab women”—President Obama should make good on his pledge to take “concrete actions against torture and to address the needs of its victims” by dropping the spurious charges against Rasmea.

Even though thousands of people have contacted the U.S. District Attorney, the Obama administration is still pushing for a trial—currently set to begin on September 2—which could result in Rasmea being stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported. 

We need to step up the pressure, which is why we’re joining today with our friends at the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression for a national call-in to Drop the Charges against Rasmea Yousef Odeh!

Here’s what you can do to take action and spread the word:

Get talking points here or below, and then call the U.S. District Attorney Barbara McQuade at 313-226-9100 or 313-226-9501 (voicemail) and ask her to drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh. You can also send her an email by clicking here.

Read, comment and share this article I wrote about Rasmea’s case which was published today in The Hill.  

Visit USPCN’s website for additional ways you can express solidarity with Rasmea and stay updated about her case. 

Thank you for taking action in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh.


Josh Ruebner

Policy Director

Talking Points for June 10 Call-In Day 
Committee to Stop FBI Repression and US Palestinian Community Network

Call U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara McQuade 
313-226-9100 or 313-226-9501 (voicemail) 
Tuesday, June 10 9 am to 5 pm EDT 
Demand of U.S. Atty McQuade: “Drop the Charges against Rasmea Yousef Odeh!”

When you call, you could say,

“Hello, my name is ________ and I am calling from _________. I am calling to demand that U.S. Attorney McQuade drop the immigration charges against Rasmea Odeh. She is a beloved leader in the community and has worked tirelessly to serve and help empower Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim families throughout the Chicagoland area.

Rasmea is a community icon and was recently awarded an “Outstanding Community Leader” award from the Chicago Cultural Alliance for her over 40 years of dedication and service to people across the Arab World and the U.S.

Rasmea was convicted 45 years ago by an Israeli military kangaroo court, the result of a confession forced by vicious physical and sexual torture. She never committed any crimes, so the charges against her now ring hollow. These charges are a political attack on her as an individual, and on the collective Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim communities across the U.S.

I stand in unequivocal support of Rasmea and demand that these charges be dropped immediately!”