Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sami Al-Arian in the News – Released on bail

Unlike those countries that are quick to criticize it, the United States once again shows that it stands behind its constitution and laws. It stands behind those laws even when the beneficiary, Sami Al-Arian, an admitted supporter of terrorism is freed from prison where he awaits trial on a criminal contempt charge for refusing to testify in a terrorism case unrelated to his 1995 trial.

How is Al-Arian’s story treated in the media? Well, for those outlets that are covering the story, Al-Arian’s case continues to be surrounded by inaccuracy.

Both quotes which follow misstate the facts of the Al-Arian case. Al-Arian’s plea agreement does not exempt him from testifying before a grand jury. That idea was roundly denied by an appeals court. The plea agreement is completely silent on the issue of cooperation in other terror prosecutions. Al-Arian argues for a right not granted to any other American, not to mention an admitted supporter of terror. You can look it up.

From The Palestine Chronicle, out of Mountlake Terrace, Washington

Dr. Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian political activist and former professor of the University of South Florida, released on bail in Virginia on September 2 after more than five years in federal custody, faces criminal contempt charges despite a plea agreement that he would not have to testify in any other case. In 2005, a Florida jury rejected federal charges that Al-Arian operated a cell for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was scheduled for release and deportation in April this year. However, he was subpoenaed and jailed for refusing to testify against others. To borrow Dr. Al-Arian’s lead Counsel, Professor Jonathen Turley, “Having lost the case in Florida , the Justice Department has openly sought to extend his confinement by daisy-chaining grand juries.” His trial to criminal contempt begins in December.

Among the contributors to The Palestine Chronicle- Hanan Ashrawi and Noam Chomsky.

HOTLINE BUZZ from Jurist Legal News & Research published by Bernard Hibbits of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law

“A central aspect of the plea agreement was an understanding that Dr. Al-Arian would not be subject to further prosecution or called to cooperate with the government on any matter. The plea agreement signed with Florida prosecutors explicitly protected him from cooperating in any additional cases.”