Bond for Arab activist who hid Israel bombing role
DETROIT (AP) — An Arab-American activist convicted of failing to tell U.S. immigration officials about her conviction for a fatal bombing in Israel can be released from jail if she comes up with $50,000 cash, a federal judge in Detroit said Monday.
The judge reversed his earlier decision denying bond to Rasmieh Odeh of Chicago while she awaits her sentence in March. Judge Gershwin Drain said he no longer believes the 67-year-old is likely to flee.
Drain cited her work in Chicago, where she runs the daily operations of the Arab American Action Network, in his decision to grant bond.
Odeh’s “dedication to her community work and the people that such work assists, as well as the presence of relatives in Chicago, demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that she is not as significant a flight risk as originally believed,” he wrote.
A jury convicted Odeh of failing to disclose her conviction for bombings in Israel in 1969 when the Palestinian native applied for U.S. citizenship in Detroit in 2004.
In the indictment, federal prosecutors said Odeh “falsely stated that she had lived in Amman, Jordan, from 1948 onward, thereby intentionally omitting the details of her residence, including the 10 years in which she had been imprisoned.”
Odeh said she believed the questions were related to U.S. criminal history. She has been in a county jail since Nov. 10.
Israel imprisoned Odeh for life for her role in bombings in Jerusalem, including one that killed Hebrew University students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner at a grocery store.
Odeh said she was tortured into confessing to the crimes.
Israel released her and other members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in a 1979 prisoner exchange.