[Ppnews] Al-Arian Placed in Punitive Detention

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Apr 12 13:02:35 EDT 2008


Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace
April 12, 2008

Dr. Al-Arian Placed in Punitive Detention

VIRGINIA-- At 1 a.m. on Saturday, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was moved by
hostile prison guards from a regular holding cell at the Howard County
Detention Center in Jessup, Maryland, to the "Special Housing Unit."
The SHU is an extremely punitive and restrictive section of the prison
where inmates are placed in solitary confinement 23 hours a day,
usually in freezing temperatures. Prisoners are normally moved there
for violating prison rules. However, in the case of Dr. Al-Arian, he
has always been placed there without reason or any explanation. In the
SHU, prisoners are subjected to continuous, deafening alarm sounds and
have little contact with the outside world. With no medical
supervision, this is an extremely dangerous place for Dr. Al-Arian to
be during his hunger strike, which is on its 41st day. Dr. Al-Arian
was also held in solitary confinement for 37 months before and during
his trial. This was a deliberate attempt by the government to break
him down physically and psychologically and to prevent him from
preparing for his trial.

Amnesty International has written several letters decrying the prison
conditions of Dr. Al-Arian, calling his treatment "gratuitously
punitive" and "inconsistent with international standards for humane
treatment."

The Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace urges all conscientious
individuals and organizations to contact the Howard County Detention
Center and call for humane treatment of Dr. Al-Arian. We also call on
media outlets to cover these abuses, which so far have received no
attention.

TAKE ACTION

Call the Howard County Detention Center and ask that Dr. Al-Arian be
removed from the Special Housing Unit, where he does not belong, and
that the prison ensures he is given proper medical treatment during
his hunger strike. The number is (410) 313-5200.

--
PRESS CONFERENCE ON TUESDAY TO DEMAND RELEASE OF SAMI AL-ARIAN

Press 
Release: 


Contact: Dowoti Desir,
Executive Director
The Shabazz Center
ddesir at theshabazzcenter.org

Dept. of Justice Must Keep its Promise
to Release Palestinian Professor on Hunger Strike

Press Conference:
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
To Demand the Release of Dr. Sami Al-Arian

Who:The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, Educational and
Cultural Center, American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights, and the
Council on American Islamic Relations

WHAT: Press Conference to Call for the Release of Hunger Striking
Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian

WHEN: Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 11 A.M.

WHERE: The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational
Center  3940 Broadway, New York City, N.Y. 10032  (212) 568.1341

SPEAKERS:
THE HONORABLE RAMSEY CLARK
SARA FLOUNDER,Co-Director, The International Action Center
IMAM SIRAJ WAHAJ
IMAM TALIB ABDUR-RASHID, CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director, Sr.
HEIDI BOGHOSIAN, Executive Director of the National Lawyers' Guild
ALIYA LATIF, Civil Rights Director Council on American-Islamic Relations

LAILA AL-ARIAN, Daughter of Sami Al-Arian

MALAAK SHABAZZ, Daughter of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz -- Malcolm X

NEW YORK, NY. - Friday, April 11, is the scheduled release date of Dr.
Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian professor on a hunger strike, who has
been imprisoned for more than five years. But the Department of
Justice, through its continuous abuse of the grand jury system, is
threatening to keep him imprisoned for many years.
This Tuesday, April 15, at 11 A.M., American Muslim Taskforce on Civil
Rights and Elections, hosted by the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz
Memorial, Educational Center and Cultural Center, will hold a press
conference to demand Dr. Al-Arian's release as promised.

Sami Al-Arian, 50, was a tenured professor of computer engineering at
the University of South Florida. He was arrested in February 2003 with
much fanfare, and charged in a bloated terrorism conspiracy case. A
jury acquitted him of the most serious charges in December 2005.
Under a plea agreement reached in 2006, Dr. Al-Arian should have been
released last April at the latest. By forcing him to testify,
prosecutors are violating that agreement. For more on the case, please
visit www.freesaminow.com

Dr. Al-Arian began a hunger strike on March 3 to protest continued
government harassment. That day, Dr. Al-Arian was informed that he
would be called to testify before a grand jury in Virginia. "The
mistreatment of Dr. Al-Arian is part of the overall oppression of the
Palestinian people. This is cruel punishment," said Agha Saeed,
chairman of the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and
Elections (AMT). "The government is playing a cat and mouse game with
him. They did not decide to do this until the last minute, just as
he's about to be released. This amounts to psychological torture."

"Malcolm X stated, "Any person who claims to have deep feelings for
other human beings should think a long, long time before he votes to
have other men kept behind bars - caged. Behind the bars, a man never
reforms- he can't forget those bars." The past decades have been
marred by the erosion of civil liberties and the systemic silencing
through incarceration, torture, and deportation of non-conformist
voices. Unfortunately our brothers and sisters in the Islamic
community are the latest victims of such practices. The continued,
unwarranted incarceration of Dr. Al-Arian is a violation of his human
rights." Dowoti Desir, Executive Director, The Shabazz Center,

If you'd like more information on this topic, please visit
www.freesaminow.com , or to schedule an interview with any of the
speakers at the press conference, please call 212-568.1341 or email
ddesir at theshabazzcenter.org

--

PUBLIC RADIO PROGRAM COVERS AL-ARIAN CASE:
Please click on the link below to listen:
http://wunc.org/tsot/archive/sot0408c08.mp3/mediafile_view





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