[Ppnews] The Al-Arian Verdict's Seventh Anniversary
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 6 12:38:49 EST 2012
*The Verdict's Seventh Anniversary:
December 6 should be celebrated as
"First Amendment Day" ** **
Watch on**"The Al-Arian Trial:
An Inside Look by A Juror"
Link: Click Here
/ * ** *//*For immediate release*
*/WASHINGTON DC - /*/Dec. 6, 2012/
December 6, 2005 shall be remembered as a great day in which justice
triumphed over intolerance and the First Amendment reigned supreme
*[sic]*. On that day, a jury of twelve ordinary citizens refused to
return a single guilty verdict against Dr. Sami Al-Arian and three other
Palestinian men accused of terrorism in one of the most high profile
cases to emerge out of the highly charged atmosphere after 9/11.
Notwithstanding the concerted efforts by the government to instill fear
into the public's hearts and minds during the trial, coupled with an
elaborate intimidation campaign against Arabs and Muslims in the Tampa
Bay area, an American jury was able to sit through a six-month trial and
uphold the Constitution, despite being subjected to "a mountain of
evidence," as one prosecutor referred to the government's case. In
reality, this "evidence" encompassed activities protected by the First
Amendment: speech, beliefs, thoughts, opinions, and associations.
Remarkably, much of the media coverage blurred the line between factual
reporting and advocating for the prosecution, disregarding journalistic
standards in a disgraceful and sensationalist display that resulted in a
trial in the court of public opinion that was more akin to a lynch mob.
In spite of these pressures, the courtroom jury was, in the words of one
juror, able to see through the "smoke and mirrors" displayed by the
In his statement a few months later, Dr. Al-Arian thanked the jury for
its "remarkable courage and efforts in the service of justice" in the
case. He further stated that serving justice through "an impartial and
conscientious jury" is how America could "win the hearts and minds of
people across the globe, especially in the Arab and Muslim world." By
rendering a just verdict, the jury understood Martin Luther King's
famous statement, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Dr. Al-Arian's defense did not present a single witness despite eighty
witnesses offered by the government. The First Amendment was his only
defense, a position validated by the jury's verdict, and the reason that
this decision to uphold one of the most sacred founding principles of
the United State should be remembered every year on this day. *We call
upon all First Amendment advocates and people of conscience to honor the
First Amendment every year on this day. It protects all of us.*
On this day, this great jury stood for the primacy of free speech over
government censorship and criminalization of speech. As former Supreme
Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, once said, "Above all else, the First
Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression
because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content."
Some time ago the *National Liberty Fund* *(NLF)* released a video
interview with Ron, a member of the jury who demonstrated his courage in
this trial. It is an eyeopening account that presents an inside look at
how the jury deliberated and reached its decision for acquittal on major
terrorism charges despite thousands of highly inflammatory and
prejudicial assertions made by the prosecution.
The interview is featured on *YouTube* in 3 parts: Part I
and Part III
The video-interview (total: 26 min.) appears courtesy of Line Halvorsen
and Jan Dalchow, the filmmakers behind USA VS. AL-ARIAN, the
award-winning Norwegian documentary.
But despite the acquittals and the conclusion of the case between the
government and Dr. A-Arian through a plea deal, the case is not over yet
after almost nine years (5 1/2 of which were spent in prison including
43 months in solitary confinement) of unjustly persecuting the Muslim
Since September 2008 Dr. Al-Arian has been under house arrest in the
Washington DC area. He awaits a ruling by a federal judge on a motion to
dismiss the unjust contempt charges brought against him by the
government after he was acquitted by a jury.
On this day we also remember Thomas Jefferson, one of the great *[sic]
*founding fathers of this nation who understood the true meaning of the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but above all the inviolability of
justice when he said: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God
is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." To honor his words, we
must not rest until all those who have been denied justice or continue
to await justice will finally receive it.
For previous press releases click here
or go to: www.freesamialarian.com
[For Case Background Click Here]
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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