On Monday, a Detroit jury deliberated for a scant couple of hours before finding Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh guilty of immigration fraud. Prosecutors argued that Odeh falsified information on an immigration application, failing to notify authorities that she’d been convicted by an Israeli military court for participating in a 1969 bombing. For her conviction, Odeh faces 10 years in prison, revocation of her U.S. citizenship and deportation, the Detroit Free Press reported.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Odeh told supporters outside of the Detroit courthouse, “We can’t find the justice … in this court. Maybe in another place, there is justice in this world. We will find it. We will find the justice.”
Palestinian-American activists and Odeh’s supporters argued that her case was politically motivated and the charges were a pretext to pursue a prominent activist fighting for Palestinian liberation. Odeh, who’s lived in the U.S. since 1995 and who became a citizen in 2004, was arrested in October 2013 for withholding information on a citizenship application. However, her supporters said, she was convicted by Israeli military courts that have little use for fair justice. While in Israeli custody her confession was extracted after she was subjected to 25 days of torture and sexual assault, her supporters said. According to a 2013 U.S. State Department report (PDF), Israeli military courts have a conviction rate of more than 99 percent for Palestinians. Odeh maintains that she was not involved in the 1969 attack, even though opponents argue a film confirms her involvement, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Judge Gershwin Drain barred Odeh’s testimony about her conviction from being raised before jurors. As a result, Odeh’s defense team was cut off from a key part of their defense, and instead argued that Odeh did not knowingly lie to immigration investigators, according to Electronic Intifada, which reports from a Palestinian perspective.
Odeh has vowed to appeal the verdict.