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The New Arab

US to deport Palestinian activist after 'immigration fraud case'

Supporters of Odeh have rallied outside court [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 April, 2017

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Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh is set to lose her US citizenship after pleading guilty to immigration fraud in a case that centered around her imprisonment in Israel.
Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh is set to be deported from the US after pleading guilty on Tuesday to immigration fraud.

The 69-year-old spent ten years in an Israeli prison for terror offences, chose deportation over imprisonment and will be stripped of her US citizenship on 17 August.

"This is very unjust, very wrong," a teary-eyed Odeh said as she left the Detroit courtroom and embraced supporters.
"That they can just send you away from this country after 24 years that I've been living here, it is wrong."

Odeh's case centres around her confession made to Israeli authorities that led to her decade-long term in jail. She admitted to taking part in a 1969 supermarket bombing with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine that killed two people and plotting to bomb the British Consulate in Jerusalem.

Odeh says her confession was made after being tortured by Israeli sodiers, who she claims used rape and electric shock techniques.

US prosecutors say she broke the law when she failed to disclose her criminal record on two occasions; after she emigrated from Jordan to the US in 1995 and when she became an American citizen in 2004.

Ten years after being granted citizenship, Odeh was convicted of unlawful procurement of naturalisation. The conviction was later vacated by the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in February last year after it decided that US District Judge Gershwin Drain had wrongly denied the veteran activist the oppportunity to present evidence at trial.

The appeals court added that Odeh did not disclose her past convictions because she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Now faced with deportation, the former associate director of the Arab American Action Network said she did not know where she would go.

According to reports, Odeh's lawyer told Judge Drain that Jordan had agreed to take her in.

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