Arab American Civil Rights League Statement on Rasmea Odeh Decision
The Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL) is disappointed in the federal judge’s ruling on November 10, 2014 to detain 67-year-old Rasmea Odeh, a revered community leader, until her sentencing on March 10, 2015. Ms. Odeh was found guilty of “Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization”, and had her bond, that she has been released on for over one year, revoked pending sentencing.
The ACRL is concerned that Ms. Odeh is being subject to a 4-month detention prior to her sentencing, considering her standing and position within the Arab-American Chicago community, and with respect to her age. During her trial, the presence of dozens of members of the Arab Women’s Committee (AWC) is a testament to the fact that Rasmea’s connection to these women is not professional, but rather, very personal. As immigrants, the AWC has helped them overcome feelings of isolation and the bond between Rasmea and member of the Committee cannot be overstated. Her connection to this community of women is described by all of them as “like a family.” This is why they left families at home in Chicago, and traveled 5 hours each way on buses to be with Rasmea during this difficult time. Their presence was a comfort to Rasmea, and her arrest and detention were devastating to them.
Countless other community members, from Chicago and beyond, also filled the courtroom and an overflow courtroom throughout the trial. Some hailed from Detroit and Dearborn, but most traveled much further to support Rasmea, a valued community leader.
For these reasons we believe that Ms. Odeh is not a “flight risk” and ask the federal judge to reconsider this decision. The ACRL asks that she be released on bond until her sentencing on March 15, as this request is only fair and just.