From the ANSWER Coalition
Demand the immediate release of Sami Al-Arian
Stop Bush’s war against civil rights and civil liberties
The government failed in its attempt to gain a conviction in any of the 51 charges against Dr. Sami Al-Arian. We join with people around the country in demanding that he be released immediately.
That’s right, he was found not guilty yet is still in prison until the government decides whether to seek a retrial. This is a travesty. He should be freed immediately. Plus, the government wants to deport him. Even though a jury found him not guilty or deadlocked on all charges. So what is their rationale for deporting him except nastiness and spite?
In a significant blow to the Bush/Ashcroft/Gonzalez assault on civil rights and civil liberties, especially against Arab and Muslim people and political activists in the U.S., on Tuesday, December 6 a jury acquitted Dr. Sami Al-Arian of the key charges leveled against him by the Justice Department. The jury deadlocked on other charges. Dr. Al-Arian has been an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian people’s right to live free from occupation and is political target of the U.S. government and the right wing.
This trial was a huge setback for the neocons. It was meant to showcase the new powers of the Patriot Act. Yet the jury rejected all of it. A jury in Florida.
In 2003, the Bush Administration touted the arrest of Sami Al-Arian as a significant use of their new Patriot Act powers, calling him a supporter and facilitator of terrorism. The prosecution of Dr. Al-Arian was also hailed as an important use of "foreign intelligence" in U.S. courts. The FBI reportedly traveled to Israel to accept information from authorities there which was used to prosecute this Palestinian activist. The government had harassed Dr. Al-Arian for nearly eight years prior to his arrest, which was finally undertaken after a crescendo of attacks from anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab voices and right-wing media outlets. After September 11, 2001, he was vilified and smeared by Bill O’Reilly on FOX news and immediately thereafter removed from his tenured position at the University of South Florida.
Despite having roots in the community and a family, Professor Al-Arian was denied bail. He has endured two years of solitary confinement in a maximum security penitentiary. Dr. Al-Arian was placed in 23 hour lock down in a windowless cell where the light was never turned off and was denied a clock or watch. He has been denied basic privileges, been chained and shackled, subject to strip searches and given limited visitation.
"No human contact" conditions like these have been called torture by Amnesty International.
Dr. Al-Arian was a speaker at the first national demonstration against a war in Iraq on October 26, 2002, that was initiated and organized by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition. After his arrest, his daughter Laila Al-Arian spoke at the April 12, 2003, anti-war and anti-occupation demonstration organized by the A.N.S.W.E.R.