After 5 Grueling Years, a Moment of Repose
Dr. Al-Arian Released on Bail!
Fairfax, VA - September 2, 2008 - After five-and-a-half years of
harsh and gratutious detention, former Florida professor and civil
rights activist Dr. Sami Al-Arian was released on bond, reuniting
with his family for the first time since his ordeal began in 2003.
Earlier today (Tuesday), the Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) filed an order for the release of Dr. Al-Arian from their
custody. Judge Brinkema originally granted Dr. Al-Arian bail on July
10 and reaffirmed that decision last month, but the ICE continued to
detain him until today on the pretext that they were completing
Last week, Dr. Al-Arian's attorneys filed a petition for habeas
corpus with the court, challenging the continued unlawful detention
by ICE. Judge Brinkema gave the government until today to respond.
Their response came in the form of an order for Dr. Al-Arian's
release on bail.
Dr. Al-Arian's family was overjoyed upon hearing the news. Four of
his five children along with his attorney met him at an ICE facility
in Fairfax, Virginia earlier this afternoon. "We couldn't believe
our eyes," Leena, Dr. Al-Arian's second oldest daughter, said. "We
were so relieved. It's been 2,020 days since he's last been with us."
His eldest daughter Laila added that "We are overjoyed that our
father is finally back with us after what felt like an eternity. I
hope that this is just the beginning, that he'll be finally released
for good, and that this horrific nightmare will be over. We'd like
to thank all the people who've supported my father throughout the
past several years. Their consistent dedication and hard work in the
cause of justice has been invaluable." Dr. Al-Arian - who is unable
to make any direct statements to the press because of his legal
situation - echoed these sentiments, expressing his heartfelt
appreciation for the countless thousands who have shown their
support for his case.
"We owe so much to our lawyers, Prof. Jonathan Turley, Will Olson,
and P.J. Meitl," Abdullah Al-Arian told the TBCJP. "Their incredible
work for justice has allowed our family to finally be reunited after
so long. On behalf of my father and my family, we thank you from the
bottom of our hearts."
For his part, Dr. Al-Arian's lead attorney Jonathan Turley told the
AP "We are obviously relieved and delighted," noting that the
release would allow Sami to see his son off to college and to spend
the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with his family.
Dr. Al-Arian will remain under house arrest until he is brought to
trial for the current contempt charges against him or until several
motions for dismissal are decided. On August 8th, Judge Brinkema
postponed the trial pending Dr. Al-Arian's appeal before the Supreme
Court concerning the prosecution's violation of the 2006 plea
This is a great day for freedom and justice in America. We would
like to express our gratitude to all of you who protested Dr. Al-
Arian's imprisonment, wrote letters, made telephone calls, supported
the defense fund, and offered their prayers and support. Your
efforts HAVE made a difference. Stay tuned for more updates on how
to help our campaign grow!
DR. SAMI AL-ARIAN RELEASED ON BAIL
Action hailed as an important step toward restoration of due process
Washington, D. C. 9/2/2008 - Dr. Sami Al-Arian, the most prominent
political prisoner in America, has been release on bail. Welcoming
the news of his release Dr. Agha Saeed, Chairman American Muslim
Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) said, " This is an
important step toward restoration of due process and equal justice
A brief history of the case is given below:
- Dr. Al-Arian, a nationally recognized activist for American civil
rights and Palestine, was arrested on February 20, 2003 on bloated
charges of terrorism; his arrest and subsequent trial was the first
major test case of the PATRIOT Act.
- Alexander Cockburn has noted, this trial "featured eighty
government witnesses (including twenty-one from Israel) and 400
intercepted phone calls (the result of a decade of surveillance and
half a million recorded calls). One bit of evidence consisted of a
conversation a co-defendant had with Al-Arian in his dream."
- In December 2005, after 10 years of federal investigation and a
six-month trial, which cost the taxpayers 50 million dollars, a
Florida jury refused to return a single guilty verdict against Dr.
- In a special two-page article about Dr. Al-Arian, TIME magazine
reported that years of FBI investigation offered "no real links
between al-Arian and terrorist acts. Nonetheless, says a former FBI
supervisor involved in the case, in late 2002 word came down from
Ashcroft to build an al-Arian indictment. "We were in shock, but
those were our marching orders," says the supervisor, who felt that
the Justice Department was rushing to indict before it had really
appraised the evidence. ('When terror charges just won't stick",
TIME, December 19, 2005, pp. 46-47)
- On May 1, 2006, the Justice Department agreed that Dr. al Arian
should be released within 30 days, and further agreed to assist in
his voluntary departure from the country without other conditions,
in exchange for a guilty plea to one non-violent offense.
- Nevertheless, in a clear violation of these terms, Dr. Al-Arian
has been called to testify before an unrelated trial three times.
- On June 26th, 2008, Dr. Al-Arian was formally charged with
criminal contempt of court for his refusal to testify. A federal
judge has unexpectedly postponed the contempt trial until the
Supreme Court addresses Dr. Al-Arian's appeal.
- Civil libertarians all over the world have been calling for Dr. Al-
- Now Dr. Sami A-Arian has to await his resumption of his trial in
For more information, please visit: www.FreeSamiNow.com
Sami a-Arian: US `terror` suspect freed from jail
Wednesday, Sept.3, 2008
Mathaba News Network
Sami al-Arian was freed on Tuesday after US immigration officials
failed to explain his continued detention pending a trial for
refusing to testify before a grand jury about a cluster of Muslim
organisations in northern Virginia.
(Aljazeera) A US court has ordered the release of an Arab-American
former professor who had been in jail for five years after he was
accused of being a Palestinian terrorist. Sami al-Arian was freed on
Tuesday after US immigration officials failed to explain his
continued detention pending a trial for refusing to testify before a
grand jury about a cluster of Muslim organisations in northern
"We are obviously relieved and delighted,'' Jonathan Turley, al-
Arian's lawyer, said.
But the former computer engineering professor at the University of
South Florida, in custody since early 2003, is not yet fully free.
He must remain under home detention at his daughter's residence in
Virginia, pending trial. In February 2003, federal prosecutors
charged al-Arian with being a leader of the Palestinian resistance
movement, Islamic Jihad, which the US has labelled a "terrorist
A jury acquitted him of eight charges out of the 17 against him but
was deadlocked on the others. Al-Arian later struck a plea bargain
and admitted to lesser charges of conspiring to aid the group by
helping a family member with links to it to get immigration
benefits, and by lying to a reporter about another person's links to
He was sentenced to nearly five years in prison, during which time
federal prosecutors sought his testimony for a grand jury
investigation. Last month US District Judge Leonie Brinkema
postponed the contempt trial and questioned whether the charges
violated the terms of al-Arian's plea agreement which bars the
justice department from standing in the way of his deportation after
he has served jail time.
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