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Arab Community Leader Rasmea Odeh: Sentence Impacted by Broad Support

posted on: Mar 14, 2015

In a trial that Judge Drain declared was “not political,” Rasmea Odeh was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison, a $1,000 fine, immediate revocation of her citizenship, and deportation to Jordan after serving jail time. Odeh was released on bond pending appeal. As Odeh said in her statement at the hearing, “every time I try to build my life up, something comes along that puts me back to zero.”

The hearing’s beginning did not bode well for Odeh’s case as Judge Drain approved two motions by the prosecution for “obstruction of justice” that added time to the sentencing guidelines. This involved Odeh ignoring the Judge’s instructions to not bring up her experiences in Israel including her military trial and torture which he had ruled inadmissible. Odeh would later say in her statement that she respected the court, but also felt compelled to tell her full story of what had happened to her. But even after this inauspicious start, Judge Drain made a point of saying he had read most of the seventy-two letters for leniency attached to the defense pleading and had gotten in addition a “ton of letters from people of all walks of life from all over the country” testifying to Odeh’s character. This would be the first sign that the over 200 supporters filling the courtroom and the overflow room at the hearing and the outpouring of support expressed in well over 70 letters would have a major impact on how Judge Drain would rule. It would also clearly undermine the constant prosecution contention that Odeh was a lying terrorist who flouted the justice of the court and continued to “pal around with terrorists.”