My Father, 9/11 Scapegoat
My father, a Palestinian professor named Sami Al-Arian, was arrested over four years ago on trumped up terrorism charges and submitted to a prosecution over the course of six months that bordered on the farcical. Though he was ultimately acquitted by a jury of the most serious charges against him, the Bush administration has prolonged his imprisonment indefinitely. My father now languishes in a Virginia jail, another victim of the demagogic politics of the so-called war on terror. MORE.


Bad News, Good News Day for Al-Arian
A former Florida college professor at the center of a celebrated terrorism prosecution, Sami Al-Arian, saw a federal appeals court dash his hopes for relief today, only to have the same court revive them a short time later. MORE


Authorities Probe Alleged Abuse Of Al-Arian
Authorities have opened an inquiry into claims that federal guards abused and threatened a prominent Palestinian Arab inmate, Sami Al-Arian, as he was being transferred last week to a jail in Northern Virginia from a prison hospital in North Carolina.

"It has been referred for an investigation," a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons, Traci Billingsley, said yesterday. MORE


Guards aim more abuse at Al-Arian
Instead of walking out of jail earlier this month as scheduled, Dr. Sami Al-Arian endured more racist abuse and a death threat from his prison guards.

Al-Arian is the Palestinian professor who has been languishing behind bars on trumped-up charges of aiding terrorism since 2003. Now there is word of new harassment. MORE


Supreme Court Refuses To Take Up Al-Arian Case
The Supreme Court will not take up the case of a Florida college professor, Sami Al-Arian, who objected to the 57-month prison sentence he received after pleading guilty to aiding Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian's request, known as a petition for certiorari, was denied without comment from the justices, according to a list released by the court's clerk yesterday morning. MORE


Demonstration demands release of Sami Al-Arian
On April 13, members of the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) joined a demonstration and press conference in support of imprisoned Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Al-Arian. The demonstration, held at the U.S. Department of Justice building in downtown Washington, D.C., was organized by the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation. MORE.


Prison Guard Threatens Dr. Al-Arian's Life
For nearly three days this week, the whereabouts of Dr. Sami
Al-Arian were unknown. He was last seen by family members last
Sunday at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, NC, where he was
steadily recovering from the effects of a 60-day hunger strike in
which he lost 55 pounds, more than 25 percent of his bodyweight.

Dr. Al-Arian embarked on the hunger strike to protest the Justice
Department's violation of a plea agreement that would have seen him
released today, Friday April 13, 2007. Instead, he spent the days
leading up to his original release date in a harrowing ordeal that
saw him transferred from Butner to the Alexandria Detention Center in
northern Virginia. During the course of the trip, Dr. Al-Arian spent
nearly two days at a temporary facility in Petersburg, Virginia,
where he was subjected to some of the worst verbal and physical
abuses by prison officials in the course of his four-year
imprisonment. Dr. Al-Arian arrived in Petersburg on Tuesday April 10 at 5 PM. Upon his arrival, Dr. Al-Arian's undergarments were confiscated and he was
instead given old, worn out undergarments with holes in them. He was
placed in a tiny, freezing cold cell with pools of water on the
ground. Though the vent released extremely cold air, he was given no
additional blankets or extra clothing and no cleaning supplies to
clean the dirty cell. Since there were no windows in the cell, he
could not tell the time of day or the direction to perform his Muslim

Moreover, the guards at the federal facility in Petersburg illegally
seized Dr. Al-Arian's legal documents and then proceeded
to "misplace" them. They have yet to be found or returned.
Following a 30-hour stay in the deplorable cell, Dr. Al-Arian was
taken to be transported to northern Virginia at 4:30 AM on Thursday,
during which time he was subjected to the most abusive conduct on the
part of at least two officials with the Bureau of Prisons.

A Correctional Officer who was strip-searching Dr. Al-Arian asked
him "Where are you from? Afghanistan?" Dr. Al-Arian refused to answer
the question. The guard repeated the question several times, before
saying: "It doesn't matter where you're from. If I had my way, you wouldn't
be in prison. I'd put a bullet in your head and get it done with.
You're nothing but a piece of s***."

Dr. Al-Arian responded: "Why do you say that? You don't know me." The
guard replied: "I know enough about all you guys. You're all pieces of s***. You can go pray to the f*** that you pray to."

He then unleashed a stream of obscenities at Dr. Al-Arian, repeatedly
telling him to "Shut the f*** up." Dr. Al-Arian then told him, "If
you were brave enough, you would tell me what your name so I can
report you." The guard then walked away hurling more obscenities. The guard who engaged in this verbal abuse refused to give Dr. Al-Arian his name.
He is white, over-weight, 6 foot 2 inches tall with green eyes, a
goatee and is balding.

This is not the first time the guard in question has harassed Dr. Al-
Arian. In January, when Dr. Al-Arian was in Petersburg when being
transferred to Butner, the same guard told him: "You're a terrorist.
I can tell by your name." The lieutenant in charge heard the exchange, took Dr. Al-Arian to the side and proceeded to squeeze his right arm and right leg with
handcuffs and leg irons. Because of this, Dr. Al-Arian was completely
numb for the duration of the four-hour trip to Alexandria. The
lieutenant, who is white, about 6 foot tall, with green eyes, also
repeatedly told Dr. Al-Arian to "Shut the f*** up" and tightened his
shackles 7 times, increasing the pain each time.

Both the guard and lieutenant transferred Dr. Al-Arian to Alexandria.
When Dr. Al-Arian disembarked from the van that transported him, the
lieutenant repeatedly pulled the chain around Dr. Al-Arian's waist in
an attempt to trip him and cause him to fall. He also shoved him
against a wall when they arrived at the U.S. Marshals office in
Virginia. Dr. Al-Arian has since been at the Alexandria Detention Center. (The Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace).


Judge Said To Overstep Authority
(The Sun, NY) A Tampa, Fla.-based federal judge exceeded his authority when he issued a key ruling in a grand jury contempt dispute involving a former professor at the center of a long-running terrorism case, Sami Al-Arian, prosecutors contend. MORE


April 13th Rally and Press Conference
In support of Dr. Sami Al-Arian the Muslim American Society (MAS)
Freedom Foundation is holding a press conference and rally in front
of the U.S. Department of Justice on April 13th, 2007. The event is
in response to the U.S. Department of Justice's failure to uphold
their current plea agreement with Dr. Sami Al-Arian, which scheduled
his release date for April 13th. (Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace/ MAS)


Sami Al-Arian's Nightmare
The U.S. government has gone out of its way to make an example of this outspoken advocate for Palestinian rights. Racist prosecutors, inhumane treatment and abuse in custody, the prospect of indefinite detention--Al-Arian has been subjected to this and more in the four years he's been behind bars.

An Interview with Nahla Al-Arian. MER HER .


SAMI AL ARIAN: No end in sight
Professor Sami Al-Arian of Florida has been languishing in jail for four years in which critics say has been a gross breach of justice. InFocus recently spoke to Al-Arian’s eldest daughter, Laila, who discussed her father’s case, plea bargain, hunger strike and the effect it has had on her family. InFocus, LES MER HER.


Robert Fisk: The true story of free speech in America
This systematic censorship of Middle East reality continues even in schools
Published: 07 April 2007 THE INDEPENDENT

Laila al-Arian was wearing her headscarf at her desk at Nation Books, one of my New York publishers. No, she told me, it would be difficult to telephone her father. At the medical facility of his North Carolina prison, he can only make a few calls - monitored, of course - and he was growing steadily weaker.

Sami al-Arian is 49 but he stayed on hunger strike for 60 days to protest the government outrage committed against him, a burlesque of justice which has, of course, largely failed to rouse the sleeping dogs of American journalism in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

All praise, then, to the journalist John Sugg from Tampa, Florida, who has been cataloguing al-Arian's little Golgotha for months, along with Alexander Cockburn of Counter Punch. MER HER .


Criminalizing Solidarity: Sami Al-Arian and the War of Terror
Dr. Sami Al-Arian, Palestinian political prisoner, is being held in a prison hospital, after a debilitating 60-day hunger strike seeking to draw the attention of the nation and the world to the injustice visited upon him, jailed for his commitment to justice and dignity for his homeland. This is not a scene from an Israeli jail, however, but from a U.S. prison in North Carolina. Al-Arian's hunger strike ended at the pleas of his family. LES MER HER .


Clean getaway, U.S. Attorney Paul Perez leaves town with justice undone
Paul Perez. Greg Holder. Bobby O'Neill. And, of course, the ubiquitous Sami Al-Arian. Picture those names as dots. Connecting them produces a scary picture of corruption and abuse in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa, aided and abetted by the two daily newspapers. LES MER HER.


Round-up of recent media coverage
Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace: Please see below a round-up of recent media coverage on Dr. Al-Arian's suspension of his hunger strike and his case in general.

I. Trial of Al-Arian has profited the government nothing;
editorial, USF Oracle
II. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs special 10-page spread
on Dr. Al-Arian's case
III. Al-Arian Ends Prison Hunger strike; People's Weekly World
IV. Nahla Al-Arian on True Talk

I. Trial of Al-Arian has profited the government nothing
Editorial, USF Oracle, Mar. 26, 2007

For now, Sami Al-Arian may have lost his legal fight. But his loss
is America's, too. FOR MER, GÅ HIT.


Protestors support prof detained on terror charge
About 75 demonstrators staged a vigil Saturday morning in Butner, N.C., to protest the imprisonment of a former university professor accused of aiding Palestinian terrorists.

Sami Al-Arian, a former professor of computer science at the University of South Florida and a North Carolina State University graduate, is being held at the Federal Medical Facility near Butner for refusing to testify in a terrorism-related case before a Virginia grand jury.

To protest his imprisonment, Al-Arian embarked on a two-month hunger strike Jan. 22 in a Virginia prison and was moved to the medical facility after he collapsed Feb. 13. LES MER HER og HER


Jailed Professor's Hunger Strike Over
AP. Nahla al-Arian said she was able to convince her husband early Friday to end his water-only fast that began Jan. 22. He is being held at a medical prison in Butner, N.C. She said he lost about 53 pounds - one-quarter of his body weight - and was too weak to walk.

"We're very happy and relieved that he's decided to suspend his hunger strike," she said, adding that family members and supporters had feared permanent damage. "Hopefully he will not need to resume it." LES MER HER.


Al-Arian's gaunt condition stuns his family
By MEG LAUGHLIN. Sami Al-Arian has been on a hunger strike for 58 days to protest being held beyond his prison sentence. On a water-only diet, he has lost 53 pounds. The former University of South Florida professor can no longer walk, speaks in a whisper and trembles constantly because of low body temperature, said family members who visited him last weekend at a federal medical prison in Butner, N.C.

"We were stunned when we saw him. His deterioration is shocking," said Al-Arian's son, Abdullah, 26.

Al-Arian, 49, is bedridden in an isolation cell. A nurse checks on him twice a day, and a video camera records his every move, say officials from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Three hot meals are placed in his cell every day, for two hours at a time. Then they are removed, untouched. LES MER HER.


U.S. attorney will step down
TAMPA - Paul Perez, the top law enforcement officer in this part of Florida appointed by President Bush, announced Tuesday that he will resign as U.S. attorney. Sami Al-Arians case was one of many handled by U.S. Attorney Paul Perez. LES MER HER.


Fasting Inmate Told Officials Will Soon Start Force-feeding
RALEIGH, N.C. — A former university professor on a hunger strike for the past 44 days to protest the circumstances of his imprisonment could soon be force fed, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Sami al-Arian, a Palestinian who taught computer science at the University of South Florida, stopped eating on January 22 to protest a judge's decision to hold him indefinitely after he refused to testify before a Virginia grand jury.
Nahla al-Arian said her husband has lost more than 40 pounds on the water-only diet and is so weak that he needs a wheelchair.
"His health is really deteriorating," she said. "We are really worried that there will be permanent damage."
Because of that, officials at the Federal Medical Facility in Butner have told al-Arian that they will begin force feeding if his condition worsens, said his lawyer, Peter Erlinder.
"It's an invasive procedure, and there's some danger of injury," Erlinder said. "We're hopeful that that there can be resolution before that. (U.S. Attorney General Alberto) Gonzales could end this all with a stroke of a pen." LES MER HER.





Muslim coalition calls for fasting in solidarity with Al-Arian
(ATM) The American Muslim Taskforce for Civil Rights and Elections, a coalition of major Muslim organizations, called for a worldwide "rolling fast" in support of Dr. Sami Al-Arian.

Al-Arian is the former Florida professor who has been on a hunger strike since January 21 to protest his detention and treatment by federal authorities. AMT is asking Muslims and other people of conscience around the world to fast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for as long as Al-Arian continues his hunger strike.LES MER HER.


The Persecution of Sami Al-Arian
(The Nation) One of the first big show trials here in the post-9/11 homeland was of a Muslim professor from Florida, now 49, Sami Al-Arian. Pro-Israel hawks had resented this computer professor at the University of South Florida long before Atta and the hijackers flew their planes into the Trade Towers because they saw Al-Arian, a Palestinian born in Kuwait of parents kicked out of their homeland in 1948, as an effective agitator here for the Palestinian cause. As John Sugg, a fine journalist based in Tampa who's followed Al-Arian's tribulations for years, wrote in the spring of 2006:

"When was Al-Arian important? More than a decade ago, when Israel's Likudniks in the United States, such as [Steven] Emerson, were working feverishly to undermine the Oslo peace process. No Arab voice could be tolerated, and Al-Arian was vigorously trying to communicate with our government and its leaders. He was being successful, making speeches to intelligence and military commanders at MacDill AFB's Central Command, inviting the FBI and other officials to attend meetings of his groups. People were beginning to listen." LES MER HER.


Support for Hunger Strike Growing
WASHINGTON (Washington Post) A former Florida professor has not eaten for more than a month to protest prosecutors' efforts to make him cooperate with their investigation into whether a network of Herndon-based Muslim charities financed terrorist organizations.

Sami al-Arian, 49, who has twice refused to testify before a federal grand jury in Alexandria, has lost more than 30 pounds and collapsed in jail from the effects of his water-only diet. His hunger strike has drawn the support of Muslim organizations, which held a news conference last week at Justice Department headquarters in Washington and called for a worldwide fast in support of al-Arian. Tracy Billingsley, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Prisons, said prison officials will force-feed al-Arian through a tube if he appears close to death. "We would not let an inmate die," she said. LES MER HER.


Al-Arian supporters lobby for release as hunger strike continues
WASHINGTON (Associated Press) Supporters of former professor Sami al-Arian today called on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to deport al-Arian prior to his scheduled release from prison. Al-Arian is now in the fifth week of a prison hunger strike. The former computer science professor at the University of South Florida says he is protesting efforts to force him to testify in front of an Alexandria grand jury investigating a cluster of Muslim charities in northern Virginia. He says a plea bargain with federal prosecutors reached last year frees him of any obligation to testify -- but two federal judges have sided with prosecutors and say his action is in contempt of court. Al-Arian was accused of being a leader of a terrorist group called Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The 49-year-old was transferred to a federal medical prison in North Carolina last week.

Dr. Al-Arian vows that he will remain on a prison hunger strike
Dr. Al-Arian vows that he will remain on a hunger strike until the government ends its vindictive campaign against him and allows him to return to his wife and children. This is the second hunger strike by Dr. Al-Arian, who is a diabetic, during his nearly four-year imprisonment. Following his February 20, 2003 incarceration, he went on a 140-day hunger strike to protest the government's political persecution. During that time, he was hospitalized and lost 45 pounds. Al-Arian recently received an 18 month sentence for his ethical stand against testifying before a grand jury. The 18 month sentence was given to Dr. Al-Arian despite a plea agreement he had with the government, which included
a no-cooperation clause. Faith leaders, legal scholars and experts, human and civil rights activists, and people of conscience across the world are joining together in solidarity to say "Free Dr. Al-Arian". http://www.masnet.org/takeaction.asp?id=4010


Hunger-striking professor at N.C. facility
By: Associated Press BUTNER, N.C. -- A former university professor who's staging a hunger strike to protest effort to force him to testify before a grand jury is now in the federal prison hospital in Butner.

Sami al-Arian is a former computer science professor at the University of South Florida. He pleaded guilty to supporting a Palestinian terror group, then started a hunger strike January 22 in protest of efforts to force him to testify about Muslim charities in northern Virginia.

He had been held by U.S. marshals at a jail in Warsaw, Virginia, but was brought to North Carolina this week.

Al-Arian's wife says in a telephone interview that she talked to her husband on Friday and that he was fine. But she says he's determined to stay on the hunger strike.

His wife and supporters were in Washington this week lobbying members of Congress for support and plan to return to Tampa, Florida, this weekend.


Al-Arian collapses at jail

By MEG LAUGHLIN, St. Petersburg Times. Sami Al-Arian, who has been on a hunger strike since mid January, collapsed this week in a Virginia jail.

At daybreak Tuesday, guards discovered him lying unconscious on the concrete floor of a shower room in the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va., and called for medical help, according to Nahla Al-Arian, his wife.

It was the 23rd day of a hunger strike during which he had consumed water only.

Al-Arian was transported Tuesday to a federal corrections medical facility in Butner, N.C. Officials there would not comment on his condition.

Al-Arian is on a hunger strike to protest being held in jail beyond his sentence for refusing to testify before a grand jury in Virginia. In May, as part of a plea agreement, he was convicted of aiding associates of a terrorist group in nonviolent ways.


Amnesty til USAs justisminister:
-Fengselsforholdene til Sami Al-Arian er uakseptable
Fengselsforholdene til Sami Al-Arian er brutale og fremstår som en tilleggsstraff. Det skriver Amnesty International i et brev til den amerikanske justisministeren. Den terrortiltalte Al-Arian sultestreiker på fjerde uke i protest mot behandlingen. Les mer hos Amnesty.


Sami Al-Arian sultestreiker

Mandag 22.01.07 påbegynte Dr. Sami Al-Arian en sultestreik i protest mot amerikanske myndighetenes trakassering av ham, etter at han hadde møtt foran en storjury i Virginia, hvor han var innkalt av en føderal aktor for å vitne for andre gang i samme sak. Melder familien.

Se nyhetsvideo (07.02.07): Hunger-Striking Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian Speaks Out, Democracy Now! (kun lyd - trykk her)

Etter at Al-Arian nektet å vitne i høringen, ble han dømt for forakt for retten. Han må dermed sitte opptil 18 ytterligere måneder i fengsel.

Al-Arian er hovedpersonen i den norske dokumentarfilmen "USA mot Al-Arian," som sist helg vant publikumsprisen under filmfestivalen i Tromsø.

Han ble i 2003 arrestert og fengslet, beskyldt for å ha gitt økonomisk støtte til terrorisme. Etter to og et halvt år i et høysikkerhetsfengsel i påvente av en rettsak, kom saken hans endelig opp for retten. Rettsaken varte i seks måneder, men til tross for over 80 vitner og årevis med avlytningsmateriale, klarte ikke myndighetene å overbevise juryen i Tampa, Florida om at han var skyldig. Han ble ikke dømt på ett eneste punkt.

Siden juryen ikke kom til enighet på 9 av 17 punkter, truet myndighetene med ny rettsak mot ham. Etter månedsvis med forhandlinger inngikk Sami Al-Arian til slutt et forlik med påtalemyndighetene, hvor han innrømmet å ha gitt assistanse til personer tilknyttet terrorvirksomhet. Assistansen bestod i at Al-Arian hjalp en slektning som var fengslet på hemmelige bevis med å skaffe advokat, og han hjalp to akademikere med å få visum til USA. Disse ble senere anklaget for å ha tilknytning til en terrororganisasjon. Ingen av dem er dømt.

Al-Arian ble idømt 57 måneder i fengsel, og skulle opprinnelig løslates 13. april i år. I forliket lovet myndighetene at de ikke ville stevne Al-Arian inn som vitne i andre rettsaker.

Al-Arians advokat bad mandag retten om utsettelse av saken for å frembringe bevis som støttet Al-Arians avgjørelse om ikke å vitne, og satte lys på regjeringens maktmisbruk. Dommeren avslo anmodningen. Han må dermed sone opptil 18 måneder for forakt for retten før han kan sone resten av den opprinnelige dommen.

I de siste ukene har tidligere professor Sami Al-Arian sonet under ekstremt vanskelige forhold etter han ble flyttet fra et fengsel i Virginia til et fengsel i Atlanta. Fengselsmyndighetene sier dette skjedde på grunn av en "feil."

I retten sa Sami Al-Arian følgende:

"I de siste tre ukene har jeg vært i fire forskjellige fengsler. Jeg var fjorten dager i Atlanta i 23-timers isolat, i kakerlakk- og rottebefengte omgivelser. Ved to anledninger tok rotter for seg av diabetiker-kjeksene mine.

"Da jeg ble transportert fra Atlanta til Petersburg i Virginia, og fra Petersburg til Alexandria, fikk jeg bare ha på meg en t-skjorte selv om det var minusgrader ute. Morgenen jeg skulle dra fra Atlanta tok vakten termoundertrøyen jeg hadde kjøpt fra fengselet og kastet den i søpla. Da jeg klaget, truet han med å sette en låseboks på håndjernene mine, som ville gjøre dem ekstremt ukomfortable.

"I Petersburg sa vaktene jeg skulle ta av meg det rene undertøyet og T-skjorten min, og gav meg skitne og utbrukte tilbake. Da jeg klaget på det, sa han "Shut the f- up". Og da jeg spurte hvorfor han behandlet meg sånn, svarte han "fordi du er en terrorist". Da jeg klaget til fengselsoffiseren, trakk han på skuldrene og sa at dersom jeg ikke likte det, skulle jeg skrive en klage til fengselsvesenet.

"Under en av flytransportene strammet en air marshal håndjernene mine ytterligere, og spurte meg "Hvorfor hater du oss?" Jeg sa "Jeg hater ikke dere." Han sa: "Jeg vet hvem du er, jeg har lest dritten din."

Dette er eksempler på myndighetenes trakasseringskampanje mot meg, som har foregått i årevis på grunn av min politiske overbevisning."

Dommeren avbrøt på dette tidspunktet Dr. Al-Arian og sa at han ikke skulle bli trakassert, men at retten ikke hadde kontroll over fengselsvesenet. Han la til at Dr. Al-Arian ikke skulle bli dårlig behandlet på grunn av sin politiske overbevisning, men sa at han likevel betraktet Al-Arians uvilje mot å vitne som forakt for retten.

Dette er Al-Arians andre sultestreik. Etter at han ble satt i varetekt 20. februar 2003 sultestreiket han i 140 dager i protest mot det han mente var politisk forfølgelse fra myndighetene. Han ble innlagt på sykehus og gikk ned 25 kilo.

Les mer her.


Al-Arian moved

About a week ago, Dr. Al-Arian was abruptly moved to a federal prison
in Atlanta for what is supposed to be a temporary stay.


Al-Arian gets more prison time

Sami Al-Arian, who has 174 days left on a 57-month sentence for aiding a terrorist group with nonviolent activities, was found guilty of contempt in federal court in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday.
His sentence will now be put on hold while he serves up to 18 months for the contempt charge. He will then serve the remaining 174 days.
Al-Arian and his attorneys said his subpoena to testify before a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia violated his plea agreement. But James S. Moody, a Tampa federal judge, ruled last week that the written plea agreement did not give him immunity from testifying before a grand jury in Virginia, despite oral negotiations to the contrary.

Les mer her