Rasmieh Odeh is on trial in Detroit federal court for failing to tell U.S. immigration officials she was convicted of two terrorist bombings in Israel, one of which killed two people at a Jerusalem market in 1969 • Odeh served 10 years in Israeli jail.
Dozens of people traveled 300 miles from Chicago to Detroit on Tuesday to support an Arab activist who is on trial for failing to tell U.S. immigration officials that she was convicted of two terrorist bombings in Israel decades ago. A jury was picked in the Detroit federal court, and opening statements were planned for Wednesday. The case has angered pro-Palestinian activists who accuse the U.S. government of trying to silence critics of Israel. There is no dispute that Rasmieh Odeh, associate director at the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, answered “no” on immigration forms in 2004 when asked if she had ever been convicted of a crime or spent time in prison. She subsequently became a naturalized U.S. citizen. But Odeh spent 10 years in prison in Israel for two bombings, including one that killed two people at a Jerusalem market in 1969. Defense attorney Michael Deutsch said Odeh may have been confused, thinking the questions referred to crimes in the U.S. Odeh, 66, was in the U.S. for nearly a decade before becoming a citizen. ”They never said anything about foreign arrests,” Deutsch said outside court where many of Odeh’s supporters held signs and marched. U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain has barred Odeh from using post-traumatic stress disorder as a defense, although he said he believes her claim that she was tortured by the Israeli military. Odeh’s supporters chanted outside the courthouse: “DOJ [Department of Justice], let’s be clear, Rasmieh is welcome here.” ”She has been an effective member of the Palestinian community in Chicago,” said Dale Lehman, 68, of Chicago.
Copyright 2014 Israel Hayom. All rights reserved.