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Social activist and alleged terrorist takes plea deal: Will lose citizenship, be deported

Apr 25, 2017

A federal judge accepted a plea deal from an alleged Palestinian American terrorist and activist today in Detroit.

Rasmea Odeh was initially charged with providing false information to the government when she emigrated to the U.S. over 20 years ago.

The charge was later changed to terrorism for two bombings she was allegedly involved in over 50 years ago.

Because of the plea deal, Odeh will lose her U.S. citizenship.

Michael Deutsch, Odeh’s attorney, believes despite having won an appeal earlier in the case, the U.S. wouldn’t have given his client a fair trial.

“It was decided that it was in her best interest to just get it over with and not run the risk of going back to prison,” Deutsch said, “because she wasn’t going to be able to withstand a deportation in the end.”

Rasmea Odeh after the hearing, surrounded by supporters.
Credit Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A group of over a hundred people showed up in Detroit to support Odeh, many of them being Palestinian.

Nesreen Oscar helped organize the protest in support of Odeh outside of the courthouse before the hearing. She said this protest was important to her because it is a Palestinian issue.

“We’re always under vindictive surveillance and oppression, and with Rasmea, they’re basically targeting her because she is Palestinian,” Oscar said.

Oscar cited the relationship between America and Israel as reasons why Odeh, a Palestinian activist, is being prosecuted.

“They’re upset that someone who escaped torture and rape by the Israelis is out here speaking up,” she said.

Not everyone outside the courthouse today agreed with the narrative that Odeh is a hero.

Dan Cutler was down the sidewalk from those supporting Odeh and her cause. Standing alone for much of the time, Cutler held a sign that called Odeh and terrorist and a murderer.

“I was aware of the bombing when it happened in 1969,” Cutler said.

Cutler was a high school student at the time, heading to Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“It was two Hebrew University students that were killed at that bombing in the supermarket,” he said. “Odeh didn’t place the bomb, but there are videos online of the woman who did giving Rasmea credit for selecting the target.”

While the claims of her terrorist actions were disputed amongst the protestors, what can’t be disputed is that Odeh will eventually be deported.

Odeh will have a sentencing hearing on August 17 in Detroit, when she will learn where she must relocate.

Deutsch said she does have a Jordanian passport, but she could potentially get a visa to another country.