Palestinian Activist Rasmea Odeh Sentenced in Immigration Fraud Case

By Julianne Hing Mar 12, 2015

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain sentenced Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh to 18 months in prison after the 67-year-old Odeh was convicted of falsifying information about her past to gain citizenship in the U.S. The sentence was issued to a packed courtroom, with dozens of Odeh’s supporters present. She was released on bond and plans to appeal her conviction, according to the Rasmea Defense Committee.

A Detroit jury convicted Odeh in November of failing to notify U.S. immigration authorities that an Israeli military court had found her guilty of participating in a 1969 bombing in which Israeli civilians died. As part of her sentence Thursday Odeh’s citizenship will be revoked, and after serving her sentence she’ll be automatically deported to Jordan.

Prosecutors had called for a 5- to 7-year prison term for Odeh in the highly politicized case, which garnered national and international attention. During his sentencing, Judge Drain said that while Odeh may have been a "terrorist," he believed she was reformed. He said he was abiding by sentencing guidelines, and sentenced her firmly in the middle of the recommended 15 to 21 months, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Her attorneys have maintained that her 1969 conviction was obtained after torture and sexual assault while in custody in an Israeli military court system with a 99 percent conviction rate for Palestinians. Odeh maintains that she wasn’t involved in the attack.