(PRESS ABOUT THE FILM CLIK HERE)
DR. AL-ARIAN MOURNS HIS FRIEND AND FORMER ATTORNEY WILLIAM B. MOFFITT
April 24, 2009.
(By Sami Al-Arian) For over three years during my difficult ordeal with the US government between 2003 and 2006, I was placed in solitary confinement, having no contact visits with anyone except my attorneys, Bill Moffitt and Linda Moreno.
At the end of my first meeting with Bill in the spring of 2003, after my arrest, he hugged me and said: “this is how we greet each other, brother.” He was indeed not only my attorney, but also my trusted friend and brother. Bill Moffitt passed away this afternoon after suffering a massive stroke. READ MORE.
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
March 30, 2009.
(By Chris Hedges) U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema is scheduled to issue a ruling in the Eastern District of Virginia at the end of April in a case that will send a signal to the Muslim world and beyond whether the American judicial system has regained its independence after eight years of flagrant manipulation and intimidation by the Bush administration. Brinkema will decide whether the Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Amin Al-Arian, held for over six years in prison and under house arrest in Virginia since Sept 2, is guilty or innocent of two counts of criminal contempt. READ MORE.
AL-ARIAN TO FACE CRIMINAL CONTEMPT TRIAL
January 16, 2009.
A federal judge ruled Friday that Sami Al-Arian will stand trial in March for criminal contempt.
Al-Arian had requested that the charge be dismissed based on “selective prosecution.” READ MORE and HERE
AL-ARIAN RELEASED FROM PRISON
By Meg Laughlin, Times Staff Writer, Wednesday, September 3, 2008.
After almost six years in federal custody, former University of South Florida engineering professor Sami Al-Arian set foot outside prison Tuesday afternoon. "As you can imagine, he is having a very cheerful reunion with his children," said his attorney Jonathan Turley.
Al-Arian, 50, had been held by immigration authorities pending his trial on contempt charges for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury in Virginia. A federal judge had ordered Al-Arian released on bail in mid July, but officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement took him into custody.
The release of the former University of South Florida professor came as a surprise after ICE officials suddenly "elected to release Dr. Al-Arian" Tuesday, after a petition by his attorneys that his continued incarceration violated his constitutional rights. A federal judge had previously set Al-Arian's bail at $340,000.
According to law, immigration officials could hold Al-Arian for 90 days before either deporting him or releasing him. But ICE had held hwim for 130 days. In agreeing to release Al-Arian, ICE did not acknowledge that it had acted improperly.
Immigration officials called Al-Arian's attorney at noon Tuesday and told him to come to the Alexandria Detention Center to pick him up. His four children rode with their father while Turley drove them to his daughter Laila's apartment in Washington, D.C. "There was a lot of excitement in that car," said Turley.
Photo courtesy Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace Sami Al-Arian, second from right, stands with his children, from left, Leena, Ali, Abdullah and Laila, after being released from a federal detention center in Fairfax, Va., on Tuesday. Al-Arian’s wife, Nahla, and their fifth child, Lama, are living in Cairo.
TOP COURT WON ’T HEAR EX-PROF’S APPEAL
McLEAN, Va. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away an appeal from a former Florida professor once accused of being a top Palestinian terrorist.
The high court’s decision eliminates one of two major impediments that have stalled prosecutors from bringing Sami Al-Arian to trial for refusing to testify to a grand jury in northern Virginia investigating terror financing. READ MORE.
AL-ARIAN RELEASED AFTER 5 YEARS TO AWAIT 2nd TRIAL
McLEAN, Va. (AP) — A former Florida professor once accused of being a leading Palestinian terrorist was released from custody Tuesday for the first time in more than five years.
Sami Al-Arian was being held by immigration officials as he awaited trial on charges of refusing to testify before a grand jury about a cluster of Muslim organizations in northern Virginia. A federal judge on several occasions has expressed skepticism about the government's contempt charges, and last week ordered immigration authorities to explain by Tuesday afternoon why they were continuing to hold Al-Arian. He was released hours before the judge's deadline.
Al-Arian will be on home detention at his daughter's residence in Virginia while he awaits trial.
"We are obviously relieved and delighted," said Al-Arian's lawyer, Jonathan Turley, who wouldn't not make Al-Arian available for comment. Turley did say the release would allow Al-Arian to see his son off to college and spend the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with his family.
Federal prosecutors strongly opposed Al-Arian's release, but wouldn't comment Tuesday. READ MORE.
AL-ARIAN TRIAL POSTPONED AS JUDGE QUESTIONS CASE
(Herald Tribune August 8, 2008) The trial of a former Florida professor once accused of being a leading Palestinian terrorist was postponed Friday after a judge raised new doubts about whether prosecutors have been overzealous.
MORE. (You can find even more about the courtroom battle HERE.)
MUSLIM LEADERS VISIT AL-ARIAN IN PRISON
(March 31, 2008) Representatives of several American Muslim groups today visited Dr. Sami Al-Arian, a former Florida professor currently on his second hunger strike in federal detention to protest alleged unjust treatment by U.S. authorities. "He believes in his just cause and we were there to support him," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). READ MORE; HERE AND HERE
AL-ARIAN ENTERS 19th DAY OF HUNGER STRIKE
(March 21, 2008, Democracy Now!) Jailed Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian has entered the nineteenth day of a hunger strike to protest what he calls continued government harassment. He was brought before a third grand jury Thursday, but did not testify. We speak with Al-Arian’s eldest daughter, Laila, and his local counsel in Virginia, Will Olson. READ/LISTEN/SEE MORE
THE TORTURE OF SAMI AL-ARIAN
(March 12, 2008) In December 2005, a Tampa jury acquitted Dr. Al Arian of “terrorism” charges. Two years later he is still in prison, and in the 9th day of a hunger-strike because the Bush administration refuses to honor a May 2006 promise to release and deport him. Unless he receives proper medical care within days, he risks irreversible renal failure and death - all under the watchful eyes of the Bush “Justice” Department. READ MORE.
DR. AL-ARIAN BEGINS HUNGER STRIKE
ALEXANDRIA, VA.-- On Monday, March 3, 2008, Dr. Sami Al-Arian began a hunger strike for justice to protest continued government harassment. Earlier in the day, Dr. Al-Arian was informed that he would be called to testify before a third grand jury in Virginia, only weeks before his scheduled release date. Under his plea agreement, Dr. Al-Arian should have been released last April at the latest. However, because he has not testified, his sentence was suspended as he served one year on civil contempt. Dr. Al-Arian's current release date is April 7, but it will likely be pushed back indefinitely when he is called before a grand jury sometime in the coming weeks. (Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace
March 3, 2008).
THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CALLS DR. SAMI AL-ARIAN BEFORE THIRD GRAND JURY
(Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace
March 3, 2008) During a hearing in Virginia this morning Dr. Sami Al-Arian was informed that he will be called to testify before a third grand jury.
Since the beginning of civil contempt proceedings against Dr. Sami Al-Arian, we have been heavily restricted in what we can discuss in public due to the on-going court sealing of proceedings. Today, however, the government presented a court order that granted him, again, immunity to testify and ordered him to appear before another grand jury. The order effectively strips him of his privilege against self-incrimination and lays the groundwork for a new civil or criminal contempt proceeding.
Dr. Al-Arian was held for a year on civil contempt for refusing to cooperate in a grand jury investigation. Under federal rules, the government is not allowed to use civil contempt confinement against a witness who clearly will not cooperate. Yet, despite his repeated refusals and an international campaign supporting his defiance of the Justice Department, prosecutors insisted that Dr. Al-Arian would break under pressure as a way to keep him confined. (source: Attorney Jonathan Turley's blog) MORE
"USA vs. Al-Arian" Highlights Real Cost of Indefinite Detentions
"There is a pattern in the United States of taking out this type of extrajudicial punishment against people who refuse to be convicted," said Jonathon Turley, a member of Al-Arian's legal team who teaches law at George Washington University and specialises in national security and constitutional issues. MORE
Al-Arian contempt charge is lifted
Lawyers say he could be deported by April.
Sami Al-Arian no longer is being held on a civil contempt charge in a Virginia jail. A federal judge lifted the charge Thursday, which starts the clock ticking again on Al-Arian's prison sentence. If everything goes on schedule, Al-Arian could be released and deported in April. "We're very relieved; we're finally starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel," said his son, Abdullah, 27. MORE
Judge Drops Contempt Citation Against Al-Arian
A federal judge has agreed to lift a civil contempt citation against a Palestinian Arab activist and former professor, Sami Al-Arian, after prosecutors essentially relented in their effort to keep him behind bars for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Islamic charities in Northern Virginia. MORE
My Family's Nightmare Caught on Film (by Laila Al-Arian)
For nearly one year, my father, Sami Al-Arian, has been imprisoned on civil contempt for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury in Virginia. During plea negotiations in early 2006, federal prosecutors in Florida promised him he would not have to testify in any other cases. The moment he signed that agreement, his business with the government was supposed to have ended. He would serve the remainder of his sentence and finally be deported.
But a vindictive prosecutor from Virginia, Gordon Kromberg, resented that my father and his three co-defendants were largely acquitted by a jury following a lengthy trial in 2005. Kromberg is using every legal maneuver in his arsenal to prolong my father's imprisonment. A U.S. Attorney in Florida admitted, during a hearing regarding the plea agreement, that the boilerplate language dealing with cooperation was deleted from my father's agreement precisely because it was negotiated away. In Kromberg's world, his colleagues' words to my father, and the plea agreement both sides signed in good faith, are meaningless. MORE.
Al-Arian Lawyers Brace for New Contempt Charge
Lawyers for a former Florida college professor in jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury in Virginia are bracing for a new criminal contempt charge against their client, Sami Al-Arian, after a Palestinian Arab activist in a similar predicament received a sentence of more than 11 years in prison.
"We're preparing for that eventuality," Al-Arian's lead attorney, Jonathan Turley, told The New York Sun yesterday. MORE.
Dr. Al-Arian Denied Relief
Dr. Sami Al-Arian appeared in federal court on Wednesday, October 17
at a hearing scheduled by Judge Gerald Lee to revisit the continuing
civil contempt citation. The judge denied Dr. Al-Arian's motion for
the contempt to be lifted. No reason was given for his decision.
Another hearing was scheduled for mid-December to revisit the
Dr. Al-Arian's attorney, Jonathan Turley, gave several reasons why
the contempt should be lifted, including that the grand jury subpoena
is a violation of the plea agreement with the government, and that
the contempt holding is not having a coercive effect on Dr. Al-Arian.
Rather it is punishment, which is in violation of the law.
Dr. Al-Arian was held in contempt during a first grand jury last
November. The contempt was lifted after that grand jury expired but
was reinstated after a second grand jury was impaneled in January.
According to prison doctors, Dr. Al-Arian has been in need of a
hernia surgery for several months. The U.S. Marshals, who oversee
such requests, have repeatedly denied him the necessary surgery. MORE.
Al-Arian lawyer in second terror trial
The Al-Arian case and the Holy Land case are less about terrorism than they are about government overreaching. To me, these are the civil rights cases of the 21st century. MORE.
Federal Appeals Court Struggles With Al-Arian Case
A federal appeals court is struggling with the case of a former Florida college professor. MORE.
Can the man be kept in jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury?
A three-judge panel from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over whether Al-Arian can be kept in jail for refusing to testify to a federal grand jury in Virginia. MORE.
Al-Arian's Wife: We Leave for a New Life
The departure of Nahla, 46, marks the conclusion of 21 years that she and her husband lived in Tampa. MORE.
Al-Arian's wife bids goodbye before moving to Egypt
Friday night, when Nahla Al-Arian stepped to the microphone at her going-away party at the Islamic Community of Tampa to address about 100 well-wishers, she tried to put a happy face on moving to Cairo, Egypt. "We leave for a new life, " she began. But she fought back tears as she continued: "My heart is aching. I'm an American and it's hard to go." MORE.
Former USC prof Al-Arian remains jailed on contempt charges
A former university computer science professor held for refusing to testify about Palestinian charities will remain jailed on federal contempt charges until at least October, his wife said Thursday. MORE.
Ex-Professor's Contempt Citation Prolonged
A federal judge has extended the contempt citation against a former Florida professor who has refused to testify in the investigation into whether Islamic charities in Northern Virginia were financing terrorist organizations. MORE.
Judge Rejects Pleas To Free Al-Arian
A federal judge has rejected pleas to end the jailing of a former Florida college professor — Sami Al-Arian — for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Muslim charities in Virginia. MORE.
Al-Arian's family leaving U.S.
In Virginia Wednesday, ex-USF Professor Sami Al-Arian was ordered held at least until this fall on contempt charges for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating terrorist finances. Al-Arian's wife and family meanwhile are packing to leave the Bay Area. MORE (incl. video).
Al-Arian's wife, 2 children will move to Egypt
Nahla Al-Arian, wife of Sami Al-Arian, plans to move to Egypt in July with her two youngest children. MORE.
Al-Arian kin heading home to Egypt
Ahmed Bedier, spokesman for Tampa's chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Tampa Tribune he believes Nahla Al-Arian is leaving now so her two youngest children can get a fresh start on a new school year. MORE.
When reporters switch sides
He knows it may not look good: An investigative reporter with more than 10 years covering a controversial case leaves journalism to work for one of the guys at the center of the story. MORE
Reporter's departure 'controversial'
On Monday, Tampa Tribune investigative reporter Michael Fechter quit his job to work as a writer and editor for Steven Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. MORE
Michael Fechter Leaves Tribune
TAMPA - Reporter Michael Fechter, whose investigative pursuit of the Sami Al-Arian story helped make The Tampa Tribune a lightning rod, is leaving the paper to work for the documentary film maker who first linked Al-Arian to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. ... Fechter said his early reporting on the computer science professor was inspired by Steve Emerson's 1994 documentary "Jihad in America," which initially linked Al-Arian to the Islamic Jihad.
Both Fechter and Emerson have drawn fire from critics who accuse them of being anti-Muslim and reckless. MORE.
My Father, 9/11 Scapegoat
My father, a Palestinian professor named Sami Al-Arian, was arrested over four years ago on trumped up terrorism charges and submitted to a prosecution over the course of six months that bordered on the farcical. Though he was ultimately acquitted by a jury of the most serious charges against him, the Bush administration has prolonged his imprisonment indefinitely. My father now languishes in a Virginia jail, another victim of the demagogic politics of the so-called war on terror. MORE.
Bad News, Good News Day for Al-Arian
A former Florida college professor at the center of a celebrated terrorism prosecution, Sami Al-Arian, saw a federal appeals court dash his hopes for relief today, only to have the same court revive them a short time later. MORE
Authorities Probe Alleged Abuse Of Al-Arian
Authorities have opened an inquiry into claims that federal guards abused and threatened a prominent Palestinian Arab inmate, Sami Al-Arian, as he was being transferred last week to a jail in Northern Virginia from a prison hospital in North Carolina.
"It has been referred for an investigation," a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons, Traci Billingsley, said yesterday. MORE
Guards aim more abuse at Al-Arian
Instead of walking out of jail earlier this month as scheduled, Dr. Sami Al-Arian endured more racist abuse and a death threat from his prison guards.
Al-Arian is the Palestinian professor who has been languishing behind bars on trumped-up charges of aiding terrorism since 2003. Now there is word of new harassment. MORE
Supreme Court Refuses To Take Up Al-Arian Case
The Supreme Court will not take up the case of a Florida college professor, Sami Al-Arian, who objected to the 57-month prison sentence he received after pleading guilty to aiding Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian's request, known as a petition for certiorari, was denied without comment from the justices, according to a list released by the court's clerk yesterday morning. MORE
Demonstration demands release of Sami Al-Arian
On April 13, members of the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) joined a demonstration and press conference in support of imprisoned Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Al-Arian. The demonstration, held at the U.S. Department of Justice building in downtown Washington, D.C., was organized by the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation. MORE.
Prison Guard Threatens Dr. Al-Arian's Life
For nearly three days this week, the whereabouts of Dr. Sami
Al-Arian were unknown. He was last seen by family members last
Sunday at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, NC, where he was
steadily recovering from the effects of a 60-day hunger strike in
which he lost 55 pounds, more than 25 percent of his bodyweight.
Dr. Al-Arian embarked on the hunger strike to protest the Justice
Department's violation of a plea agreement that would have seen him
released today, Friday April 13, 2007. Instead, he spent the days
leading up to his original release date in a harrowing ordeal that
saw him transferred from Butner to the Alexandria Detention Center in
During the course of the trip, Dr. Al-Arian spent
nearly two days at a temporary facility in Petersburg, Virginia,
where he was subjected to some of the worst verbal and physical
abuses by prison officials in the course of his four-year
imprisonment. Dr. Al-Arian arrived in Petersburg on Tuesday April 10 at 5 PM. Upon
his arrival, Dr. Al-Arian's undergarments were confiscated and he was
instead given old, worn out undergarments with holes in them. He was
placed in a tiny, freezing cold cell with pools of water on the
ground. Though the vent released extremely cold air, he was given no
additional blankets or extra clothing and no cleaning supplies to
clean the dirty cell. Since there were no windows in the cell, he
could not tell the time of day or the direction to perform his Muslim
Moreover, the guards at the federal facility in Petersburg illegally
seized Dr. Al-Arian's legal documents and then proceeded
to "misplace" them. They have yet to be found or returned.
Following a 30-hour stay in the deplorable cell, Dr. Al-Arian was
taken to be transported to northern Virginia at 4:30 AM on Thursday,
during which time he was subjected to the most abusive conduct on the
part of at least two officials with the Bureau of Prisons.
A Correctional Officer who was strip-searching Dr. Al-Arian asked
him "Where are you from? Afghanistan?" Dr. Al-Arian refused to answer
the question. The guard repeated the question several times, before
saying: "It doesn't matter where you're from. If I had my way, you wouldn't
be in prison. I'd put a bullet in your head and get it done with.
You're nothing but a piece of s***."
Dr. Al-Arian responded: "Why do you say that? You don't know me." The
guard replied: "I know enough about all you guys. You're all pieces of s***. You can
go pray to the f*** that you pray to."
He then unleashed a stream of obscenities at Dr. Al-Arian, repeatedly
telling him to "Shut the f*** up." Dr. Al-Arian then told him, "If
you were brave enough, you would tell me what your name so I can
report you." The guard then walked away hurling more obscenities. The guard who
engaged in this verbal abuse refused to give Dr. Al-Arian his name.
He is white, over-weight, 6 foot 2 inches tall with green eyes, a
goatee and is balding.
This is not the first time the guard in question has harassed Dr. Al-
Arian. In January, when Dr. Al-Arian was in Petersburg when being
transferred to Butner, the same guard told him: "You're a terrorist.
I can tell by your name." The lieutenant in charge heard the exchange, took Dr. Al-Arian to the
side and proceeded to squeeze his right arm and right leg with
handcuffs and leg irons. Because of this, Dr. Al-Arian was completely
numb for the duration of the four-hour trip to Alexandria. The
lieutenant, who is white, about 6 foot tall, with green eyes, also
repeatedly told Dr. Al-Arian to "Shut the f*** up" and tightened his
shackles 7 times, increasing the pain each time.
Both the guard and lieutenant transferred Dr. Al-Arian to Alexandria.
When Dr. Al-Arian disembarked from the van that transported him, the
lieutenant repeatedly pulled the chain around Dr. Al-Arian's waist in
an attempt to trip him and cause him to fall. He also shoved him
against a wall when they arrived at the U.S. Marshals office in
Virginia. Dr. Al-Arian has since been at the Alexandria Detention Center. (The Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace).
Judge Said To Overstep Authority
(The Sun, NY) A Tampa, Fla.-based federal judge exceeded his authority when he issued a key ruling in a grand jury contempt dispute involving a former professor at the center of a long-running terrorism case, Sami Al-Arian, prosecutors contend. MORE
April 13th Rally and Press Conference
In support of Dr. Sami Al-Arian the Muslim American Society (MAS)
Freedom Foundation is holding a press conference and rally in front
of the U.S. Department of Justice on April 13th, 2007. The event is
in response to the U.S. Department of Justice's failure to uphold
their current plea agreement with Dr. Sami Al-Arian, which scheduled
his release date for April 13th. (Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace/ MAS)
Sami Al-Arian's Nightmare
The U.S. government has gone out of its way to make an example of this outspoken advocate for Palestinian rights. Racist prosecutors, inhumane treatment and abuse in custody, the prospect of indefinite detention--Al-Arian has been subjected to this and more in the four years he's been behind bars.
An Interview with Nahla Al-Arian. MORE.
SAMI AL ARIAN: No end in sight
Professor Sami Al-Arian of Florida has been languishing in jail for four years in which critics say has been a gross breach of justice. InFocus recently spoke to Al-Arian’s eldest daughter, Laila, who discussed her father’s case, plea bargain, hunger strike and the effect it has had on her family. InFocus MORE.
Robert Fisk: The true story of free speech in America
This systematic censorship of Middle East reality continues even in schools
Published: 07 April 2007 THE INDEPENDENT
Laila al-Arian was wearing her headscarf at her desk at Nation Books, one of my New York publishers. No, she told me, it would be difficult to telephone her father. At the medical facility of his North Carolina prison, he can only make a few calls - monitored, of course - and he was growing steadily weaker.
Sami al-Arian is 49 but he stayed on hunger strike for 60 days to protest the government outrage committed against him, a burlesque of justice which has, of course, largely failed to rouse the sleeping dogs of American journalism in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
All praise, then, to the journalist John Sugg from Tampa, Florida, who has been cataloguing al-Arian's little Golgotha for months, along with Alexander Cockburn of Counter Punch. MORE.
Criminalizing Solidarity: Sami Al-Arian and the War of Terror
Dr. Sami Al-Arian, Palestinian political prisoner, is being held in a prison hospital, after a debilitating 60-day hunger strike seeking to draw the attention of the nation and the world to the injustice visited upon him, jailed for his commitment to justice and dignity for his homeland. This is not a scene from an Israeli jail, however, but from a U.S. prison in North Carolina. Al-Arian's hunger strike ended at the pleas of his family. MORE.
Clean getaway, U.S. Attorney Paul Perez leaves town with justice undone
Paul Perez. Greg Holder. Bobby O'Neill. And, of course, the ubiquitous Sami Al-Arian. Picture those names as dots. Connecting them produces a scary picture of corruption and abuse in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa, aided and abetted by the two daily newspapers. MORE.
Round-up of recent media coverage
Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace: Please see below a round-up of recent media coverage on Dr.
Al-Arian's suspension of his hunger strike and his case in general.
I. Trial of Al-Arian has profited the government nothing;
editorial, USF Oracle
II. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs special 10-page spread
on Dr. Al-Arian's case
III. Al-Arian Ends Prison Hunger strike; People's Weekly World
IV. Nahla Al-Arian on True Talk
I. Trial of Al-Arian has profited the government nothing
Editorial, USF Oracle, Mar. 26, 2007
For now, Sami Al-Arian may have lost his legal fight. But his loss
is America's, too. MORE.
Protestors support prof detained on terror charge
About 75 demonstrators staged a vigil Saturday morning in Butner, N.C., to protest the imprisonment of a former university professor accused of aiding Palestinian terrorists.
Sami Al-Arian, a former professor of computer science at the University of South Florida and a North Carolina State University graduate, is being held at the Federal Medical Facility near Butner for refusing to testify in a terrorism-related case before a Virginia grand jury.
To protest his imprisonment, Al-Arian embarked on a two-month hunger strike Jan. 22 in a Virginia prison and was moved to the medical facility after he collapsed Feb. 13. MORE and HERE.
Rally for Palestinian political prisoner Dr. Sami al-Arian
Butner, North Carolina - More than 80 students and civil rights activists rallied here, March 24, to protest the U.S. government’s indefinite imprisonment of Dr. Sami al-Arian. Dr. al-Arian, a Palestinian, was a tenured professor of computer science at the University of South Florida. In 2003, he and three others were arrested and charged with ‘supporting terrorism.’ The U.S. government claimed he was working on behalf of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an organization that is fighting to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. MORE
Jailed Professor's Hunger Strike Over
AP. Nahla al-Arian said she was able to convince her husband early Friday to end his water-only fast that began Jan. 22. He is being held at a medical prison in Butner, N.C. She said he lost about 53 pounds - one-quarter of his body weight - and was too weak to walk.
"We're very happy and relieved that he's decided to suspend his hunger strike," she said, adding that family members and supporters had feared permanent damage. "Hopefully he will not need to resume it." MORE.
Al-Arian continues deteriorating
Sami Al-Arian slumped forward in his wheelchair Saturday, reached forward and grasped a black chess piece to make his next move, as his wife, Nahla, looked on. His hand trembled, one of the many tolls exacted by a hunger strike approaching 60 days.
Nahla said he looked at his 16-year-old son, Ali, across the table of the crowded visiting room of the Butler, N.C., federal medical detention facility. Ali and the five other members of the Al-Arian family - two older sisters, an older brother, a younger sister and his mother - looked back at a father and husband 53 pounds lighter than when they last saw him in December. MORE
Al-Arian's gaunt condition stuns his family
By MEG LAUGHLIN. Sami Al-Arian has been on a hunger strike for 58 days to protest being held beyond his prison sentence. On a water-only diet, he has lost 53 pounds. The former University of South Florida professor can no longer walk, speaks in a whisper and trembles constantly because of low body temperature, said family members who visited him last weekend at a federal medical prison in Butner, N.C.
"We were stunned when we saw him. His deterioration is shocking," said Al-Arian's son, Abdullah, 26.
Al-Arian, 49, is bedridden in an isolation cell. A nurse checks on him twice a day, and a video camera records his every move, say officials from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Three hot meals are placed in his cell every day, for two hours at a time. Then they are removed, untouched. MORE.
U.S. attorney will step down
TAMPA - Paul Perez, the top law enforcement officer in this part of Florida appointed by President Bush, announced Tuesday that he will resign as U.S. attorney. Sami Al-Arians case was one of many handled by U.S. Attorney Paul Perez. MORE.
Fasting Inmate Told Officials Will Soon Start Force-feeding
RALEIGH, N.C. — A former university professor on a hunger strike for the past 44 days to protest the circumstances of his imprisonment could soon be force fed, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Sami al-Arian, a Palestinian who taught computer science at the University of South Florida, stopped eating on January 22 to protest a judge's decision to hold him indefinitely after he refused to testify before a Virginia grand jury.
Nahla al-Arian said her husband has lost more than 40 pounds on the water-only diet and is so weak that he needs a wheelchair.
"His health is really deteriorating," she said. "We are really worried that there will be permanent damage."
Because of that, officials at the Federal Medical Facility in Butner have told al-Arian that they will begin force feeding if his condition worsens, said his lawyer, Peter Erlinder.
"It's an invasive procedure, and there's some danger of injury," Erlinder said. "We're hopeful that that there can be resolution before that. (U.S. Attorney General Alberto) Gonzales could end this all with a stroke of a pen." MOORE.
Muslim coalition calls for fasting in solidarity with Al-Arian
(ATM) The American Muslim Taskforce for Civil Rights and Elections, a coalition of major Muslim organizations, called for a worldwide "rolling fast" in support of Dr. Sami Al-Arian.
Al-Arian is the former Florida professor who has been on a hunger strike since January 21 to protest his detention and treatment by federal authorities.
AMT is asking Muslims and other people of conscience around the world to fast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for as long as Al-Arian continues his hunger strike.MORE.
The Persecution of Sami Al-Arian
(The Nation) One of the first big show trials here in the post-9/11 homeland was of a Muslim professor from Florida, now 49, Sami Al-Arian. Pro-Israel hawks had resented this computer professor at the University of South Florida long before Atta and the hijackers flew their planes into the Trade Towers because they saw Al-Arian, a Palestinian born in Kuwait of parents kicked out of their homeland in 1948, as an effective agitator here for the Palestinian cause. As John Sugg, a fine journalist based in Tampa who's followed Al-Arian's tribulations for years, wrote in the spring of 2006:
"When was Al-Arian important? More than a decade ago, when Israel's Likudniks in the United States, such as [Steven] Emerson, were working feverishly to undermine the Oslo peace process. No Arab voice could be tolerated, and Al-Arian was vigorously trying to communicate with our government and its leaders. He was being successful, making speeches to intelligence and military commanders at MacDill AFB's Central Command, inviting the FBI and other officials to attend meetings of his groups. People were beginning to listen." MORE.
Support for Hunger Strike Growing
WASHINGTON (Washington Post) A former Florida professor has not eaten for more than a month to protest prosecutors' efforts to make him cooperate with their investigation into whether a network of Herndon-based Muslim charities financed terrorist organizations.
Sami al-Arian, 49, who has twice refused to testify before a federal grand jury in Alexandria, has lost more than 30 pounds and collapsed in jail from the effects of his water-only diet. His hunger strike has drawn the support of Muslim organizations, which held a news conference last week at Justice Department headquarters in Washington and called for a worldwide fast in support of al-Arian. Tracy Billingsley, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Prisons, said prison officials will force-feed al-Arian through a tube if he appears close to death. "We would not let an inmate die," she said. MORE.
Al-Arian supporters lobby for release as hunger strike continues
WASHINGTON (Associated Press) Supporters of former professor Sami al-Arian today called on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to deport al-Arian prior to his scheduled release from prison. Al-Arian is now in the fifth week of a prison hunger strike. The former computer science professor at the University of South Florida says he is protesting efforts to force him to testify in front of an Alexandria grand jury investigating a cluster of Muslim charities in northern Virginia. He says a plea bargain with federal prosecutors reached last year frees him of any obligation to testify -- but two federal judges have sided with prosecutors and say his action is in contempt of court. Al-Arian was accused of being a leader of a terrorist group called Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The 49-year-old was transferred to a federal medical prison in North Carolina last week.
Dr. Al-Arian vows that he will remain on a prison hunger strike
Dr. Al-Arian vows that he will remain on a hunger strike until the government ends its vindictive campaign against him and allows him to return to his wife and children. This is the second hunger strike by Dr. Al-Arian, who is a diabetic, during his nearly four-year imprisonment. Following his February 20, 2003 incarceration, he went on a 140-day hunger strike to protest the government's political persecution. During that time, he was hospitalized and lost 45 pounds. Al-Arian recently received an 18 month sentence for his ethical stand against testifying before a grand jury. The 18 month sentence was given to Dr. Al-Arian despite a plea agreement he had with the government, which included
a no-cooperation clause.
Faith leaders, legal scholars and experts, human and civil rights activists, and people of conscience across the world are joining together in solidarity to say "Free Dr. Al-Arian". http://www.masnet.org/takeaction.asp?id=4010
Hunger-striking professor at N.C. facility
By: Associated Press BUTNER, N.C. -- A former university professor who's staging a hunger strike to protest effort to force him to testify before a grand jury is now in the federal prison hospital in Butner.
Sami al-Arian is a former computer science professor at the University of South Florida. He pleaded guilty to supporting a Palestinian terror group, then started a hunger strike January 22 in protest of efforts to force him to testify about Muslim charities in northern Virginia.
He had been held by U.S. marshals at a jail in Warsaw, Virginia, but was brought to North Carolina this week.
Al-Arian's wife says in a telephone interview that she talked to her husband on Friday and that he was fine. But she says he's determined to stay on the hunger strike.
His wife and supporters were in Washington this week lobbying members of Congress for support and plan to return to Tampa, Florida, this weekend.
Al-Arian collapses at jail
By MEG LAUGHLIN, St. Petersburg Times. Sami Al-Arian, who has been on a hunger strike since mid January, collapsed this week in a Virginia jail.
At daybreak Tuesday, guards discovered him lying unconscious on the concrete floor of a shower room in the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va., and called for medical help, according to Nahla Al-Arian, his wife.
It was the 23rd day of a hunger strike during which he had consumed water only.
Al-Arian was transported Tuesday to a federal corrections medical facility in Butner, N.C. Officials there would not comment on his condition.
Al-Arian is on a hunger strike to protest being held in jail beyond his sentence for refusing to testify before a grand jury in Virginia. In May, as part of a plea agreement, he was convicted of aiding associates of a terrorist group in nonviolent ways.
Hunger-Striking Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian Speaks Out, Democracy Now! (sound only here)
About a week ago, Dr. Al-Arian was abruptly moved to a federal prison
in Atlanta for what is supposed to be a temporary stay.
Al-Arian gets more prison time
Sami Al-Arian, who has 174 days left on a 57-month sentence for
aiding a terrorist group with nonviolent activities, was found
guilty of contempt in federal court in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday.
His sentence will now be put on hold while he serves up to 18 months
for the contempt charge. He will then serve the remaining 174 days.
Al-Arian and his attorneys said his subpoena to testify before
a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia violated his plea
agreement. But James S. Moody, a Tampa federal judge, ruled last
week that the written plea agreement did not give him immunity
from testifying before a grand jury in Virginia, despite oral negotiations
to the contrary. MORE.