[Ppnews] Sami Al-Arian update including his grand jury refusal

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 8 08:40:09 EST 2007



 From the article below: But just over two weeks 
ago, a judge found him in contempt for refusing a 
second time to testify before a grand jury in 
Virginia in a case involving a Muslim think tank. 
The date of his release could now be extended by 
as much as 18 months because of the ruling. 
Al-Arian, who is a diabetic, began a hunger strike in response.

<http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/02/07/18359041.php>http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/02/07/18359041.php


Hunger-Striking Palestinian Professor Sami 
Al-Arian Speaks Out In First Broadcast Interview of His Four-Year Imprisonment
by Democracy Now (reposted)
Wednesday Feb 7th, 2007 8:00 AM

In a Democracy Now exclusive, Sami Al-Arian 
speaks to us from prison where is on a 
hunger-strike. The Palestinian professor and 
activist was found not guilty over a year ago of 
17 charges against him yet he remains in jail and 
the US government seems unwilling to release him. 
Al-Arian’s case has been one of the most closely 
watched – and controversial – post 9/11 
prosecutions in the United States. In February 
2003, he was arrested and accused of being a 
leader of the militant group Palestinian Islamic 
Jihad. The jury failed to return a single guilty 
verdict. Four months after the verdict, he agreed 
to plead guilty to one of the remaining charges 
in exchange for being released and deported. At 
his sentencing, the judge gave Al-Arian as much 
prison time as possible under a plea deal - 57 
months. In the four years since his arrest, Sami 
Al-Arian has never conducted a broadcast interview - until now.

Sami Al-Arian has been in prison for the past 
four years. The Palestinian professor and 
activist was found not guilty over a year ago of 
17 charges against him yet he remains in jail and 
the US government seems unwilling to release him. 
Al-Arian’s case has been one of the most closely 
watched – and controversial – post 9/11 
prosecutions in the United States. A respected 
computer science professor at the University of 
South Florida, Al-Arian was a leading member of 
the Muslim community and one of the most 
prominent Palestinian academics and activists in 
the US. In February 2003, he was arrested and 
accused of being a leader of the militant group 
Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Justice Department 
handed down a sweeping 50-count indictment 
against him and seven other men, charging them 
with conspiracy to commit murder, giving material 
support to terrorists, extortion, perjury, and other offenses.

At the end of the trial in December 2005, the 
jury failed to return a single guilty verdict. Al 
Arian was acquitted on eight of seventeen counts 
against him and the jury deadlocked on the rest. 
Four months after the verdict, he agreed to plead 
guilty to one of the remaining charges in 
exchange for being released and deported. At his 
sentencing, the judge gave Al-Arian as much 
prison time as possible under a plea deal - 57 
months. His release date was set for April 2007. 
? But just over two weeks ago, a judge found him 
in contempt for refusing a second time to testify 
before a grand jury in Virginia in a case 
involving a Muslim think tank. The date of his 
release could now be extended by as much as 18 
months because of the ruling. Al-Arian, who is a 
diabetic, began a hunger strike in response.

In the four years since his arrest, Sami Al-Arian 
has never conducted a broadcast interview - until 
now. In a Democracy Now exclusive, we spoke with 
Sami Al-Arian from prison. He called us yesterday 
from the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, 
Virginia. He began by describing where he was being held.

* Sami Al-Arian, speaking from prison.

LISTEN ONLINE:
<http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/07/1546227>http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/07/1546227

Sami Al-Arian’s Daughter on Her Father’s Imprisonment
by Democracy Now (reposted) Wednesday Feb 7th, 2007 8:01 AM
Laila Al-Arian is Sami Al-Arian's eldest 
daughter. She joins us to talk about her father’s 
imprisonment and its effect on the Al-Arian 
family. We’re also joined by Sami Al-Arian’s attorney, Peter Erlinder.
---

At the time of his arrest in February 2003, 
Al-Arian was a leading member of the Muslim 
community in south Florida and one of the most 
prominent Palestinian academics and activists in 
the United States. In September 2001, he was 
invited to be a guest on “The O'Reilly Factor” 
under the impression he was going to be 
discussing Arab-American reactions to 9/11. 
Instead, host Bill O'Reilly spent the interview 
accusing him of supporting terrorism. O’Reilly 
concluded by saying “If I was the C.I.A., I'd follow you wherever you went.”

Beginning the next day, the University of South 
Florida where Al-Arian worked was barraged by 
hundreds of threatening letters and emails. 
Thirty-six hours after the interview, the 
University put him on paid leave. He was arrested a year and a half later.

* Sami Al-Arian, speaking from prison.

Peter Erlinder is representing Sami Al-Arian in 
the latest contempt charges against him. He joins 
me from Minneapolis where he is a professor at 
the William Mitchell School of Law. We’re also 
joined by Laila Al-Arian is Sami Al-Arian's 
eldest daughter. She is a graduate of the 
Columbia University Journalism School here in New York.

* Peter Erlinder. Attorney for Sami Al-Arian. He 
is a professor at the William Mitchell School of 
Law. Peter co-founded the Coalition to Protect 
Political Freedom with Al Arian in the 1990s.

* Laila Al-Arian. Sami Al-Arian's eldest 
daughter. She is a graduate of the Columbia 
University Journalism School here in New York. 
For more information go to 
<http://FreeSamiAlArian.com/>http://FreeSamiAlArian.com

More
<http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/07/1546235>http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/07/1546235






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