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Dr. Sami Al-Arian in Solitary Confinement

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    Dr. Al-Arian Suffers Under Deplorable Prison Conditions Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace May 11, 2006 ACTION ALERT Tampa- The persecution of Dr. Sami
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2006
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      Dr. Al-Arian Suffers Under Deplorable Prison Conditions
      Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace
      May 11, 2006


      The persecution of Dr. Sami Al-Arian in the U.S. prison system
      continues. Last Thursday, May 4, Dr. Al-Arian was hauled from Orient
      Road Jail in Tampa at 3:45 a.m. to a federal prison in Tallahassee,
      Florida. He was placed in the Special Housing Unit (SHU), a section
      of the prison reserved to temporarily house convicted inmates who
      violate prison rules. Prison administrators said they received a
      letter, believed to be from federal marshals, which contained the
      ridiculous allegation that Dr. Al-Arian is a danger to other
      inmates. This claim was made to justify the torturous conditions
      under which Dr. Al-Arian has been placed in Tallahassee.

      Dr. Al-Arian's family, supporters and all people of conscience would
      be shocked and outraged by this claim because Dr. Al-Arian is a well-
      known community leader, respected professor, and political prisoner,
      who not only has no connection to violence but was acquitted by 12
      jurors of any connection to violence after a 6-month trial last
      December. Even the government conceded in its plea deal with Dr. Al-
      Arian that he has no connection to violence.

      Once again, Dr. Al-Arian is being held in solitary confinement, a
      constant in his three and a half year imprisonment. Violent,
      hardened criminals are given more rights and treated more humanely
      than Dr. Al-Arian. He is clearly being subjected to especially harsh
      conditions because of his political beliefs, ethnicity and religion.
      It is further evident that this vindictive treatment is a deliberate
      attempt to break him physically and psychologically.

      Furthermore, as he has no watches or clocks, Dr. Al-Arian feels
      disoriented and cannot properly carry out the five daily Muslim
      prayers. He was only able to leave his cell twice in one week for
      one hour each; the law states that inmates in solitary confinement
      must be given one hour a day. He was allowed only one phone call
      with his family, exactly a week after he was moved. His family was
      extremely worried and distraught when they did not hear from him for
      a week. Moreover, Dr. Al-Arian was not able to contact his
      attorneys, nor were they able to reach him to discuss pressing legal
      issues with deadlines that passed during the week he was deprived
      from communication.

      In the course of his detention and during the critical time
      preparing for his trial, Dr. Al-Arian spent 27 months in the SHU
      unit of Coleman Federal Penitentiary. The legal limit of placing
      regular inmates in the SHU is one year. Again, the stark discrepancy
      in treatment undoubtedly demonstrates that he is being singled out.

      Conscious of the infamously abusive treatment of conditions in
      Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison, the international community is
      closely watching the treatment of political prisoners in the United
      States. The discrimination against Dr. Al-Arian and other political
      prisoners in the U.S. and their excessively harsh treatment will
      embolden dictatorships to do the same, and remain a dark spot in
      this country's human rights record.

      To write to Dr. Al-Arian:

      Dr. Sami Al-Arian (#40939-018)
      TALLAHASSEE, FL 32301

      To protest the abusive conditions against Dr. Al-Arian:

      E-MAIL, CALL and WRITE Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

      E-MAIL: AskDOJ @ usdoj.gov

      PHONE: 202-514-2001 and 202-353-1555

      MAIL: U.S. Department of Justice
      950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
      Washington, DC 20530-0001

      Paul Perez, Chief Prosecutor. Emails can be sent to
      steve.cole @ usdoj.gov
      Ask that it be forwarded to Paul Perez.

      Amnesty International, Southern Office:
      730 Peachtree Street NE
      Suite 1060
      Atlanta, GA 30308
      phone: (404) 876-5661
      fax: (404) 876-2276
      aiusaso @ aiusa.org


      The judge linked him to violent activity, but the plea agreement had
      nonviolent admissions.
      Meg Laughlin, St. Petersburg Times, 5/11/06

      Sami Al-Arian is appealing his prison sentence.

      Last week, a federal judge sentenced him to the maximum allowed in his
      plea agreement, 57 months. Explaining the reason for the sentence,
      U.S. District Court Judge James S. Moody told Al-Arian that he had
      "created orphans and widows" through his help for Palestinian Islamic

      In December, after a six-month federal trial, a jury acquitted
      Al-Arian of conspiring to further the violence of the PIJ, which has
      claimed responsibility for hundreds of deaths in Israel and the
      occupied territories. The jury acquitted him of eight counts and
      deadlocked on nine.

      Three months later, as part of a plea deal, Al-Arian pleaded guilty to
      helping PIJ associates in nonviolent ways. But when Moody sentenced
      Al-Arian last week, the judge linked Al-Arian to violent activity,
      despite the nonviolent admissions that were the basis of the plea
      agreement and the jury's December acquittal.

      Al-Arian has been in the Federal Detention Center in Tallahassee for
      seven days, waiting to be assigned to a permanent facility to serve
      the remainder of his time, which is about 18 months. A prison official
      said Al-Arian will be allowed one brief telephone call a week, and
      will probably be at the detention center for a month.

      The attorney on the notice of appeal is Peter Erlinder, a law
      professor at William Mitchell College of law in St. Paul, Minn., who
      sat with Al-Arian at his sentencing.



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