[Ppnews] Nightmare continues for Political Prisoner Al-Arian

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Oct 6 16:01:38 EDT 2006


Federal government's prosecutors heap insult on injury
Nightmare continues for Al-Arian
http://www.socialistworker.org/2006-2/604/604_02_AlArian.shtml

By Nicole Colson | October 6, 2006 | Page 2

THE FEDERAL government is determined to make Dr. Sami Al-Arian suffer.

Al-Arian is a former University of South Florida professor who for 
years spoke out on behalf of the cause of Palestinians. In 2003, he 
was arrested and charged (along with several co-defendants) with 
racketeering, conspiracy and "materially aiding terrorists," when the 
government accused him using an academic think tank, a Muslim school 
and a charity as a cover to raise money for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In December 2005, after a six month-long trial, a Florida jury 
acquitted Al-Arian of eight of the 17 charges against him, including 
the most serious ones, and deadlocked on the rest. But the government 
refused to release Al-Arian, instead keeping him locked up for months 
while it considered whether or not to retry him.

In April of this year, after a total of 38 months in prison, in order 
to end his separation from his family, Al-Arian agreed to plead 
guilty to a single count of the least serious charge in exchange for 
some additional jail time and his deportation.

Even that wasn't enough for the government. At his sentencing, 
Federal Judge James Moody sentenced Al-Arian to the maximum sentence 
possible--despite the fact that prosecutors had recommended a 
relatively short amount of additional time behind bars. His release 
date was set for April 13, 2007.

Moody justified the sentence with the claim that Al-Arian raised 
"money to blow up the children of others"--an accusation the jury had 
rejected.

Now, the never-ending nightmare is getting worse for Al-Arian. 
According to the Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace, Al-Arian 
was recently transported from his original detention facility in 
Florida to a number of different locations under harsh conditions.

"During the move, Dr. Al-Arian was taken through Miami, Atlanta, New 
Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma City and Pennsylvania, before 
ultimately reaching Virginia, all in the span of 72 hours," read a 
recent statement from the group. "His arms and legs were continuously 
shackled and kept in stress positions. In spite of the fact that the 
Muslim holy month of Ramadan had begun, Dr. Al-Arian was barely given 
any food or water, for over 18 hours at times. During the trip, he 
was also subjected to verbal abuse by the U.S. Marshals responsible 
for transporting him, and had his personal property confiscated."

Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va., where Al-Arian is now 
housed, has reportedly refused to allow Al-Arian to have a Koran or 
prayer rug, and had denied him medication for his diabetes.

According to a report by the St. Petersburg Times, the move to 
Virginia is part of the government's plan to force Al-Arian to 
testify before a grand jury in another terrorism-related 
case--despite the fact that his original plea agreement was 
specifically designed to keep him from testifying.

Now, in order to avoid any further terrorism charges, Al-Arian will 
likely take the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify, which will 
almost certainly result in contempt charges. That would mean his 
prison sentence could be extended yet again--by as much as 18 months.

"It's an outrageous violation of the agreement," said Al-Arian's 
attorney Bill Moffitt. "Sami is about finished and they're piling on."

To protest the treatment of Sami Al-Arian, 
<http://www.nnrj.state.va.us/about/Contact_Us.htm>e-mail the 
authorities at Northern Neck Regional Jail.


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