Detroit – A federal judge in Detroit has denied a request for a new trial for a Chicago Arab activist convicted of lying about her role in two terrorist bombing deaths in Israel when she immigrated to the U.S.
Judge Gershwin Drain ruled last week that Rasmieh Odeh’s argument for a new trial lacked legal merit.
In his ruling, Drain said evidence showed the Palestinian native illegally obtained U.S. citizenship by failing to disclose her conviction for the fatal 1969 bombings in Jerusalem.
Israel imprisoned Odeh for life for her role in the bombings, including one that killed Hebrew University students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner at a grocery store. Odeh, 67, said Israeli authorities tortured her into confessing.
Israel released Odeh in 1979 in a prisoner exchange with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the group behind the bombings. Odeh entered the U.S. in 1995 and applied for citizenship in Detroit in 2004.
Until her arrest, Odeh ran daily operations at the Arab American Action Network in Chicago. She now spells her first name Rasmea. She faces likely deportation at her sentencing, scheduled for March 12.
Odeh supporter Hatem Abudayyeh condemned the judge’s rulings and the case as a whole.
“Since both defense motions challenged how Drain conducted the trial, it came as no surprise,” Hatem Abudayyeh of the Rasmea Defense Committee said in a statement. “We know that the conviction was a travesty of justice, and that Judge Drain’s rulings made it impossible for the jury to give Rasmea a fair shake.”