[Ppnews] New Hearing Set for Sami Al-Arian

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Oct 16 10:11:26 EDT 2010


Original Content at 
http://www.opednews.com/articles/New-Hearing-Set-for-Sami-A-by-Stephen-Lendman-101016-733.html

October 16, 2010

New Hearing Set for Sami Al-Arian

By Stephen Lendman

New Hearing Set for Sami Al-Arian - by Stephen Lendman

Earlier articles explained his ordeal, a man Bush administration 
prosecutors hounded, persecuted, and imprisoned on bogus charges.

Though free on bail, Al-Arian remains politically imprisoned like 
many hundreds of others behind bars. Because of his faith, ethnicity, 
prominence and political activism, he was accused of supporting 
"terrorism" and other outrageous charges.

In fact, he's a Palestinian refugee, a distinguished professor, 
scholar, community leader, and civil activist, a man deserving honor, 
not incarceration doing hard time until released after five and half 
years of brutal treatment, including solitary confinement in rat and 
roach-infested cells.

He was denied religious services, got no watch or clock, and was kept 
in windowless cells with artificial lights kept on round the clock. 
Whenever outside his cell, he was also shackled hands behind back and 
ankles. In protest, he staged hunger strikes, long enough to endanger is life.

A Brief Timeline of His Case

FBI investigations hounded him for 11 years, spending millions of 
dollars for half a million phone wiretaps, searches and other forms 
of harassment.

Events came to a head at 5AM on February 20, 2003 when FBI agents and 
Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) officers stormed his home guns 
drawn. They arrested him and three others separately on spurious 
charges of supporting terrorism, conspiracy to commit murder, 
racketeering, giving material support to an outlawed group, 
extortion, perjury, and other offenses proved bogus in court.

On February 27, University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft 
fired him, acting as a Bush administration stooge.

At his four day March bail hearing, prosecutors provided no evidence, 
witnesses, or any reason to hold him. Nonetheless, he and 
co-defendant Sameeh Hammoudeh were denied bail.

On March 27, he was incarcerated at maximum security federal 
penitentiary, Coleman, FL after initially held in jail. Later he was 
transferred repeatedly to other federal prisons.

In June 2005, his trial began. It was a witch-hunt travesty with 
phony evidence, the kind prosecutors use when they have none. Despite 
spending around $50 million for years of investigations and six 
months of trial, jurors exonerated him on eight serious charges, 
remaining deadlocked 10 - 2 for acquittal on nine lesser ones.

On March 2, 2006, fearing retrial, he agreed to plead guilty to one 
minor charge, be freed, then reunited with his family and deported. 
But it didn't end there.

Assistant prosecutor Gordon Kromberg ordered him before a grand jury, 
violating terms of his plea bargain. Fearing entrapment, he refused, 
was held in contempt, again imprisoned, and sentenced to 18 months 
without mitigation - a clear effort to keep hounding and imprison him.

At the time, his attorney, Professor Jonathan Turley, called the 
Justice Department's ploy "a classic perjury trap used repeatedly by 
the government to punish those individuals who could not be convicted 
before an American jury."

Al-Arian appealed and remained imprisoned until released on bail on 
September 2, 2008 under house arrest, pending trial for criminal 
contempt. For the first time in over five years, he was reunited with 
his family, but his ordeal continues.

On October 29, 2010, a new hearing will be held before federal Judge 
Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia to decide whether 
criminal contempt charges will be pursued or dropped.

Under Obama, prosecutors are as ruthlessly corrupted as their 
predecessors, using every trick in the book to convict, whether 
guilty or innocent, and when trials are politically motivated, 
intensifying pressure even more. The Justice Department thus filed a 
motion to deny a defense one, filed 18 months earlier to dismiss 
criminal contempt charges. Three previous DOJ motions were rejected. 
This time, Holder prosecutors not only requested denying the 
defense's dismissal request, but asked Judge Brinkema to reverse her 
earlier decision letting Al-Arian's attorneys present evidence in 
case of trial.

In March 2009, she backed the defense's request to file a motion to 
dismiss Al-Arian's charges, saying she'd rule later at further 
hearings, and expressing concern over government "bait and switch" tactics:

"where Dr. Al-Arian and his counsel were assured that, if he agreed 
to plead guilty (to one minor charge), he would not be subject to any 
further involvement with the Justice Department beyond his 
deportation following the completion of his sentence." Bush 
prosecutors reneged on the agreement, Obama ones as contemptuous.

Like earlier departments under Ashcroft, Gonzales, and Mukasey, 
Holder shows equal contempt for the law and judicial fairness, 
presenting a challenge for the most competent defense lawyers. 
Al-Arian, however, is well represented, his team led by Professor 
Jonathan Turley, a recognized legal scholar who's written extensively 
on constitutional and tort law as well as legal theory and other 
topics. With him are attorneys William E. Olsen and Philip J. Meitl.

On October 29, at 8:30AM, Al-Arian's hearing will be held at the

Albert V. Bryan US Courthouse
401 Courthouse Square
Alexandria, VA 22314

The freesamialarian site calls it his "most important" one so far, 
more than others up to now. His freedom and future depend on the outcome.

Some Final Comments

In July 2003, Amnesty International (AI) wrote US prosecutors, 
"calling for a review of the pre-trial detention conditions of Dr. 
Sami Al-Arian, aspects of which it said appeared to be 'gratuitously 
punitive,' " and a breach of international standards.

In December 2005, AI sought fair procedures to resolve his case after 
jurors acquitted him of terrorist and other serious charges. AI noted 
his harsh solitary confinement, calling it "unnecessarily punitive."

In August 2008, Howard Zinn said:

"I thought that (Al-Arian's case) was an outrageous violation of 
human rights, both from a constitutional point of view and as a 
simple test of justice."

His former appeals attorney, Professor Peter Erlinder and former 
National Lawyers Guild president said:

"The prosecution of Dr. Sami Al-Arian was a blatant attempt to 
silence political speech and dissent in the aftermath of the 9/11 
tragedy. The nature of the political persecution of this case has 
been demonstrated throughout all its aspects, not only during the 
trial and the never-ending right-wing media onslaught, but also after 
the stunning defeat of the government in 2005, and its ill-advised 
abuse of the grand jury system thereafter."

Throughout his ordeal, many other individuals and organizations 
expressed support, demanding justice and an end to prosecutorial 
ruthlessness, false imprisonment, and contempt for the rule of law.

In 2007, Norwegian filmmakers produced a documentary titled, USA v. 
Al-Arian. An updated 2009 version is now available. Access the 
following link to order:


<http://www.amazon.com/shops/kudosfamily>http://www.amazon.com/shops/kudosfamily

Al-Arian was targeted for his ethnicity, prominence, activism, and 
for being Muslim at the wrong time in America. Washington's police 
state harshness makes everyone just as vulnerable.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at 
lendmanstephen at sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at 
sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with 
distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the 
Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and 
Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


<http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/>http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/ 
.





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