Trial set for immigrant convicted in Israel deaths

2014-10-03 14:22
A screen grab of Rasmieh Odeh. (YouTube)

A screen grab of Rasmieh Odeh. (YouTube)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Detroit - A federal judge refused Thursday to dismiss charges against an Arab activist accused of failing to tell US immigration officials in Michigan that she'd been convicted in a fatal terrorist bombing in Jerusalem.

Rasmieh Odeh, associate director at the Arab American Action Network, is being targeted for political reasons, her lawyers said in a motion seeking to have the case thrown out. They said the case grew out of "an illegal investigation of the first amendment activities" of the Chicago group and amounted to selective prosecution.

US Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a 28 August filing that Odeh's lawyers failed to meet the "high burden" of proof for a selective prosecution charge. US district judge Gershwin Drain rejected the defence claim on Thursday and scheduled Odeh's trial to begin on 4 November in Detroit.

As the case was being heard on Thursday, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington announced that it has asked attorney general Eric Holder to halt the prosecution, saying it "plays into the belief and perception that the government is intentionally targeting and prosecuting Arab American activists".

"Odeh is an exemplary citizen and well-respected leader in the Chicago Arab-American community" who has dedicated her life to the community and worked extensively on issues of women's well-being and "anti-Arab sentiment", Samer E Khalaf, a lawyer for the group, said in a letter to Holder.

An Israeli military court convicted Odeh of bombing a Jerusalem supermarket and trying to bomb the British Consulate in 1969. Two people were killed in the market bombing. Israel freed her after 10 years in a prisoner exchange with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Khalaf said the military court conviction was based on a confession from Odeh that "was illegally obtained by torture and sexual abuse while she was detained in Israel and denied due process".

The US attorney's office in Detroit didn't immediately return a message to The Associated Press seeking comment Thursday.

US authorities accuse Odeh of failing to mention her conviction and time in prison on immigration papers when she came to the US from Jordan in 1995 and before she became a naturalised US citizen in 2004.

Her lawyer, Michael Deutsch, has said Odeh had post-traumatic stress disorder and that it should be considered when evaluating her statements to immigration officials.

The judge said he would hear arguments later on whether Israeli court files should be admitted as evidence and whether to grant Odeh's request that potential jurors answer written questions about their attitudes toward Arabs, Palestinians, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Muslims, US foreign policy and immigrants.

Read more on:    us  |  israel

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham

Here are just ten of our favourite plus-sized models:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.