Convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Yousef Odeh, an organizer of a Day Without a Woman, has agreed to leave the country in exchange for no jail time for failing to disclose the conviction on her U.S. visa application.
Odeh, a resident of Chicago who has lived in the U.S. for about 20 years, plans to plead guilty to unlawful procurement of naturalization in a deal that will allow her to leave the United States rather than face the possibility of an 18-month prison sentence, according to Justice for Rasmea.
She had been scheduled to undergo another trial after a U.S. appeals court vacated her 2014 conviction, saying an expert witness should have been allowed to testify that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from allegedly being tortured in prison when she gave the false answers.
The 69-year-old Palestinian activist was convicted in the 1969 supermarket bombing in Israel that killed two Hebrew University students.
She served 10 years before being released in a prisoner exchange.
Her supporters said it would be “impossible for Rasmea to expect a fair trial in U.S. courts.”
“The prosecution team is now under the regime of racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a new superseding indictment re-frames this as a case about ‘terrorism’ rather than immigration,” said a Thursday statement on the websites Justice for Rasmea and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network.
“There is the great likelihood that a jury would be prejudiced by hearing the zionist Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel call Rasmea a ‘terrorist’ and her supporters ‘mobs and hordes,’ as he has done many times before,” said the post.
Odeh, a feminist and Palestinian activist, was among those who organized the worldwide general strike Day Without a Woman. She is slated to speak next weekend at the Jewish Voice for Peace conference in Chicago.
Her critics cheered the move. The conservative website Twitchy ran the headline “Day without a terrorist?”
Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson, an Odeh critic, said her decision was “no surprise.”
“She was convicted of immigration fraud in the first trial, and would have been convicted in the re-trial,” Mr. Jacobson said in an email. “Her new defense that PTSD caused her to falsely answer simple questions on her naturalization papers about past convictions and imprisonment was laughable. Rasmea and her supporters invented an alternate universe based on hatred of Israel, but alternate universes tend not to do very well in court when faced with real world evidence.”
Odeh is scheduled to appear in court April 25 in Detroit, and after that, “Rasmea will continue her incredible organizing work wherever she is, and so will we,” said Justice for Rasmea.
“Rasmea supporters are portraying this as a victory, but that is just spin,” Mr. Jacobson said. “This is a devastating defeat not only for Rasmea, but for the anti-Israel activists backing her. By taking a plea, she sold out her supporters, just like she sold out dozens of her fellow terrorists when she confessed to the deadly supermarket bombing in 1969.”