A federal judge in Detroit today ordered former Michigan resident Rasmieh Odeh to pay a $1,000 fine and be deported to Jordan for lying on immigration and naturalization forms in connection with a bombing in Israel in 1969 that killed two people.
Odeh, 70, of Chicago, had agreed to a plea deal earlier this year that allows her to avoid any prison time. In his sentence, Judge Gershwin Drain also gave Odeh credit for the 33 days she already had served in jail after a jury had found her guilty in 2014.
Judge Drain sentenced Odeh after she blasted Israel in remarks toward the court, saying she’s not a terrorist. Judge Drain cut her off a few times, warning her to stop talking about the Arab-Israeli dispute or else he would hold her in contempt of court and possibly lock her up.
Odeh was not charged with terrorism in U.S. courts, only with immigration fraud for lying on government forms that ask immigrants if they have ever been convicted of a crime.
Drain said he found it “extremely difficult” to believe Odeh’s excuse that PTSD caused her not to remember her Israeli convictions when she answered “no” on immigration forms asking if she had ever been convicted of a crime.
Odeh denies she was involved in the 1969 bombing which she was later convicted of in Israel. She said Israel tortured her into confessing, which caused PTSD.
Judge Drain said that while Odeh is “a very educated, intelligent” person who has helped many immigrants in Chicago, she committed a serious offense in lying on immigration forms.
No doubt you did a lot of good work, but still, you were untruthful and dishonest about your statements you made in your history, in those applications. I don’t want to minimize the seriousness.”
“Here in America, with our immigration system, we rely on the truthfulness and honesty of people,” Drain said. “When they are applying to come here, we expect them to be honest, and you weren’t. It’s a serious offense.”
Odeh left Jordan for the U.S. in 1995, first living in Michigan. She became a U.S. citizen in 2004 and was charged by prosecutors in 2013 in a case tied to raids involving anti-war activists.
Odeh was found guilty by a jury in 2014 in Detroit and then sentenced to 18 months in prison. She served five weeks behind bars, but the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned her conviction and sent the case back to Detroit.
In a statement, the attorney for the victims of the 1969 bombing in Israel, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, praised the deportation sentence of Odeh.
“Hopefully, this will be the final chapter in the tragic story of this still dangerous and unrepentant PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) terrorist who tried to defraud the US immigration services,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder of the Israel Law Center, which represents the families of the victims.
Jihadi fanboy Niraj Warikoo ended his terrorist sympathizing article noting that Odeh remained a defiant jihadist:
After the sentencing, Odeh spoke to supporters outside the courthouse.
“We will liberate our Palestine, all Palestine,” Odeh said to cheers.