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Home arrow Blog arrow March 2008 arrow March 15, 2008

March 15, 2008
  WAWA Blog March 15, 2008: Dr. Sami Amin Al-Arian VS Big Brother updated 6:15 PM EST March 19, 2008

UPDATE: Email from Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace

 March 18, 2008

 Dr. Al-Arian Transferred to Virginia

 ALEXANDRIA, Va.-- Yesterday, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was transferred from the Federal Medical Center in Butner, NC back to the local jail in Warsaw, Virginia where he was held previously, to comply with a judge's March 3 order granting him immunity for a THIRD grand jury appearance.

Today is the 17th day of a water and food strike that Dr. Al-Arian began to protest persistent harassment and psychological torture by the Department of Justice. He has since lost 29 pounds.

 Dr. Al-Arian is being asked to testify before yet another grand jury less than three weeks before his scheduled release date. His attorneys have advised Dr. Al-Arian not to testify, as the plea agreement signed with prosecutors in April 2006 removed the possibility of cooperation.

Additionally, these grand jury subpoenas are a trap intended to prolong Dr. Al-Arian's imprisonment long after his promised release date. If he testifies, he is to be charged with perjury, facing years of additional prison time. If he is convicted of criminal contempt for not testifying, Dr. Al-Arian faces a minimum of five years in prison. These efforts to convict Dr. Al-Arian in a wholly separate case (more than two years after he was acquitted by a federal jury) are clearly a last-ditch, vindictive effort on behalf of the Justice Department, led by a rogue prosecutor who has made bigoted statements against Muslims, to punish Dr. Al-Arian for his acquittal. The Department of Justice
must keep the prom!  ise it made to Dr. Al-Arian in his plea agreement and release him on April 7, when his current sentence is up.

 Members of Dr. Al-Arian's family visited him last weekend at the prison medical facility where he was being held in Butner, North Carolina. They observed the effects of the hunger strike on Dr.
Al-Arian, noting symptoms of severe dehydration. As of Monday, Dr. Al-Arian was examined by a doctor only one time in nearly a week. The government refuses to allow an outside doctor to examine Dr. Al-Arian despite requests by his attorneys, family members, and thousands of supporters. Butner Medical Center received thousands of telephone calls from concerned people from across the country and around the world.


 Given that Dr. Al-Arian has been on a hunger strike since March 3,
2008 we urgently ask all conscientious and justice-seeking individuals
to FAX OR WRITE Judge Gerald Lee to ask for an immediate end to Dr.
Al-Arian's suffering.

 1- Honorable Judge Gerald Lee

 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
 401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA 22314

 Fax: (703) 299-3339

 2-Please contribute to the National Liberty Fund to help alleviate
costs of Dr. Al-Arian's
 legal defense:

 Please send checks to:

 National Liberty Fund
 P.O. Box 1211
 24525 E. Welches Road
 Welches, OR 97067

American Palestinian Professor Dr. Sami Amin Al-Arian, has spent the last five years behind bars although NO jury ever returned a single guilty verdict against him. On March 3, 2008 he began his third hunger strike in Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va. after learning he would face a third grand jury, instead of being released and deported this April.

After loosing fifteen pounds, the diabetic Dr. was moved to Butner Medical Center. I phoned the center [919- 575-3900] on March 14, 2008, seeking a condition update, but only got as far as leaving a voice mail. 

I then phoned Melva Underbakke, who was driving to Phoenix to show the documentary USA vs AL-ARIAN.

Melva informed me, "I have known Sami for fifteen years, we both taught at the University of South Florida. When he was indicted he lost his tenure. We lived a mile from each other and were both on the educational committee of HOPE, a volunteer organization in the community that works to strengthen the community. Sami and I were both on the committee that helped the public schools develop an alternative to out of school suspension by keeping the suspended kids in the school system.

"After 9/11, Sami was instrumental in outreaching to the entire community by inviting the churches and all others to the mosque to express our shared grief and sorrow.

"Sami has won many awards for teaching. He worked to get people out to vote nd he lobbied in Washington.

"It’s a big loss to our community-a big loss to our country to loose such a person as Sami.

"Even during his pretrial incarceration the conditions were very harsh. He was always behind a glass; no physical contact was allowed, even for his family. I think maybe once a year they were allowed to be in the same room with him. The last time I saw him was just after his second hunger strike. He was still joking and in good spirits. He was strong and it was a happy visit.

"Sami was always a big believer in the American system. He felt justice would be done. But, I think because this case goes all the way to Washington, and they have been loosing these terror cases, they want to save face and don't want to give up persecuting Sami."

Dr. Al-Arian has stated:

"To be patriotic is to be able to question government policy in times of crisis. To be patriotic is to stand up for the bill of rights and the Constitution in times of uncertainty and insecurity. To be patriotic is to speak up against the powerful in defense of the weak and the voiceless. To be patriotic is to challenge the abuses of the PATRIOT Act."

“A great nation is ultimately defined and judged by its system of justice. When the system is manipulated by the powerful and tolerates abuses against the minorities or the weak members of society, the government not only loses its moral authority and betrays future generations, but will also be condemned by history.”

The diabetic Dr.'s first hunger strike, lasted 140 days, he survived on nutritional liquids and lost 45 pounds. In 2007, he went on a two month hunger strike, drank only water and lost 55 pounds. His third hunger strike began March 3, 2008 and he is refusing fluids.

The documentary “USA vs Al-Arian” that Melva is taking around the country, details "the absurdity of the show trial held in Florida and the hollowness of the government’s case against Al-Arian. When the film was awarded Best Nordic Documentary at the Nordic Panorama in Finland the jury wrote: 'The film shows precisely how a common man becomes a victim of the situation in the contemporary world, where the Big Brother is watching you even when you´re ordering pizza.'" [1]

The film is also "a close portrait of an Arab-American family facing terrorism charges leveled by the U.S. Government. The film shows a personal story of a family living in a society where fear of terrorism has resulted in increasing stigmatization and discrimination against Muslims. For years, Nahla Al-Arian and her children have been fighting to prove the innocence of husband and father Sami, a Palestinian refugee, university professor and civil rights activist, who has lived in the USA for more than thirty years. In 2003, Sami Al-Arian was accused of giving material support to a terrorist organization and held in solitary confinement for over three years. His six-month trial ended without a single guilty verdict. The failure to convict Dr. Al-Arian was seen as a stinging rebuke for the federal government. While the Bush administration considered this a landmark case in its campaign against international terrorism, Sami Al-Arian claims he has been targeted in an attempt to silence his political views. Because the jury hung on some of the counts, however, Dr. Al-Arian remained in jail as the prosecution threatened to retry him. In May 2006 he agreed to a plea bargain with the US Government in order to put an end to the ordeal and to be reunited with his family. A federal judge sentenced him to 57 months in prison and subsequent deportation…The case of Sami Al-Arian is one of the first major tests of the USA PATRIOT ACT, a controversial law passed hastily after September 11, 2001." [2]

So far the American tax payer has provided approximately $50 million dollars to persecute Dr. Al-Arian. "The government has called 80 witnesses and subjected the jury to hundreds of hours of often absurd phone transcriptions and recordings made over a 10-year period, which the jury dismissed as “gossip.” Of the 17 charges against Al-Arian—including “conspiracy to murder and maim persons abroad’’—the jury acquitted him of eight and was hung on the rest. The jurors disagreed on the remaining charges, with 10 of the 12 jurors favoring his full acquittal…Following the acquittal, a disaster for the government, especially because then-Attorney General John Ashcroft had announced the indictment, prosecutors threatened to retry Al-Arian. The Palestinian professor, under duress, accepted a plea bargain agreement that would spare him a second trial, saying in his agreement that he had helped people associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad with immigration matters. It was a tepid charge given the high profile of the case." [3]




Dr. Al-Arian is no terrorist, but he is an example that America's Big Brother's Ministry of Justice, is NOT just at all.

Please contact any one-or all- of the following and demand JUSTICE; feedom and liberty for Dr. Al-Arian:

Hon. Judge Gerald Lee
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
401 Courthouse Square
Alexandria, VA 22314

Attorney General Michael Mukasey
Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Fax: (202) 307-6777

E-mails to the Department of Justice, including the Attorney General, may be sent to
US Department of Justice
Office of Professional Responsibility
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20530

House Judiciary Chair
The Hon. John Conyers, Jr.
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5126
Fax: (202) 225-0072E-mail:

Senate Judiciary Chair
Sen. Patrick Leahy
433 Russell Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224- 4242

Screenings of "USA vs Al-Arian"
Contact Melva Underbakke to schedule a screening in your city.
Call (813) 215-3403


Vigil in support of Dr. Sami Al-Arian, jailed Palestinian professor

 Time: 1:00 PM, March 16, 2008

 Place: I-85 at Exit 189 toward Butner

 Contact: Margaret Misch, facilitator, Orange County Bill
 of Rights Defense Committee; (919)-942-2535 (h)
 Mia Austin-Scroggins, NC Stop Torture Now (919)-812-6001 (c)

 BUTNER, NC: On Saturday, March 16, 2008, 1:00 PM, at US I-85 by Exit 189, off NC 1103, a demonstration has been organized by concerned residents of North Carolina for the Al-Arian family and their supporters and friends to demand the release of Dr. Sami Al-Arian, the former tenured professor of computer science at the University of South Florida. Dr. Arian was dismissed by the university for using his outspoken first amendment rights on the issue of Palestine, and charged with terrorism by the U.S. government. After over five years, Dr. Arian remains in prison despite a six-month trial ending in a jury acquitting on eight counts and deadlocked in favor of
 acquittal on the other nine.

 Dr. Arian, protesting a third subpoena to testify before a grand jury, is currently entering the 12th day of a hunger strike, has not received water, and has not been offered an IV. He is suffering from dehydration and starvation at the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina.

 The March 16th vigil by civil rights advocates in the Triangle of North Carolina will join the rising voices demanding the government honor its agreement to drop remaining minor charges in return for Dr. Arian's agreement to be deported. Dr. Arian's case and incarceration since February 20, 2003, have inspired worldwide condemnation from Amnesty International and major civil rights organizations that contend he is the victim of the post 9/11 anti-terrorism campaign which included widespread wiretapping and surveillance of the professor for first amendment protected activities.

 Vigil organizers will continue their campaign to free Dr. Arian by focusing their demands on the U.S. Attorney General's office, and the chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary committees.

 See for more information.

To receive updates about Dr. Sami Al-Arian's case email


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