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Prosecution: Lies Should Keep Rasmieh Odeh Detained

Attorneys for Rasmieh Odeh say a federal judge was "unreasonable and unfair" when he ordered Odeh held without bond Nov. 10 pending a spring sentencing date.

Odeh faces up to 10 years in prison and subsequent deportation from the United States after being convicted of naturalization fraud.

Her conviction was based on her failure to disclose 10 years spent in an Israeli prison after being convicted for a series of 1969 Jerusalem bombings that killed two college students. On applications for a visa and later for naturalization as an American citizen, Odeh claimed to have never been arrested, convicted or imprisoned.

While she claims she was tortured and really was innocent in the bombings, immigration officials testified that she never would have been allowed into the country if they knew about her true record.

In paperwork filed earlier this week, defense attorney Michael Deutsch said that, if given a chance, he could show Odeh's "unique and extraordinary ties to her community" which would prove she is no flight risk. Odeh already is being punished, Deutsch wrote, "beginning with her sudden frightening and humiliating physical seizure and handcuffing in the courtroom, in front of the large group of her supporters and friends and clients." She has no warm clothes or blankets in the Michigan jail holding her.

In response, prosecutors say that Odeh's word is not worth much, and the facts supporting her conviction show "serial dishonesty carried out over decades."

Odeh shows a "lack of respect for this Court and these proceedings." Between her conviction and her bond revocation, Odeh slammed the "racist verdict." And during her testimony, Odeh repeatedly violated the court's order not to discuss her view that her Israeli conviction was unjust, since the issue for jurors to decide involved Odeh's answers to U.S. immigration applications. That shows "she pays no heed to this Court's orders," prosecutors wrote.

As Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson notes at the Legal Insurrection blog, the government response included new disclosures which further undermine Odeh's story.

Israeli officials "found explosive bricks in her room" the night they arrested Odeh, the reply says. And while Odeh claims her father, by then a U.S. citizen, was forced by their Israeli captors to rape her and watch her be abused, he reported nothing remotely out of the ordinary when he met with an American diplomat at the U.S. Consulate. According to a cable attached to the prosecution memo, Odeh's father reported his daughter complained she was in "uncomfortable, overcrowded jail conditions … no worse than standard treatment afforded majority detainees at Jerusalem jail."

Odeh, prosecutors wrote, "has been telling stories for many years without any basis in truth, and continued to tell them in the present trial even after the Court told her directly that such evidence was not admissible at trial."

That record should outweigh Odeh's claim that she deserves to be released from jail pending her sentencing, they argued.