FREE SAMI AL-ARIAN
A STATEMENT BY DR. SAMI A. AL-ARIAN
February 4, 2015
To my dear friends and supporters,
After 40 years, my time in the U.S. has come to an end. Like many immigrants of my generation, I came to the U.S. in 1975 to seek a higher education and greater opportunities. But I also wanted to live in a free society where freedom of speech, association and religion are not only tolerated but guaranteed and protected under the law. That’s why I decided to stay and raise my family here, after earning my doctorate in 1986. Simply put, to me, freedom of speech and thought represented the cornerstone of a dignified life.
Today, freedom of expression has become a defining feature in the struggle to realize our humanity and liberty. The forces of intolerance, hegemony, and exclusionary politics tend to favor the stifling of free speech and the suppression of dissent. But nothing is more dangerous than when such suppression is perpetrated and sanctioned by government. As one early American once observed, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” Because government has enormous power and authority over its people, such control must be checked, and people, especially those advocating unpopular opinions, must have absolute protections from governmental overreach and abuse of power. A case in point of course is the issue of Palestinian self-determination. In the United States, as well as in many other western countries, those who support the Palestinian struggle for justice, and criticize Israel’s occupation and brutal policies, have often experienced an assault on their freedom of speech in academia, media, politics and society at large. After the tragic events of September 11th, such actions by the government intensified, in the name of security. Far too many people have been targeted and punished because of their unpopular opinions or beliefs.
During their opening statement in my trial in June 2005, my lawyers showed the jury two poster-sized photographs of items that government agents took during searches of my home many years earlier. In one photo, there were several stacks of books taken from my home library. The other photo showed a small gun I owned at the time. The attorney looked the jury in the eyes and said: “This is what this case is about. When the government raided my client’s house, this is what they seized,” he said, pointing to the books, “and this is what they left,” he added, pointing to the gun in the other picture. “This case is not about terrorism but about my client’s right to freedom of speech,” he continued. Indeed, much of the evidence the government presented to the jury during the six-month trial were speeches I delivered, lectures I presented, articles I wrote, magazines I edited, books I owned, conferences I convened, rallies I attended, interviews I gave, news I heard, and websites I never even accessed. But the most disturbing part of the trial was not that the government offered my speeches, opinions, books, writings, and dreams into evidence, but that an intimidated judicial system allowed them to be admitted into evidence. That’s why we applauded the jury’s verdict. Our jurors represented the best society had to offer. Despite all of the fear-mongering and scare tactics used by the authorities, the jury acted as free people, people of conscience, able to see through Big Brother’s tactics. One hard lesson that must be learned from the trial is that political cases should have no place in a free and democratic society.
But despite the long and arduous ordeal and hardships suffered by my family, I leave with no bitterness or resentment in my heart whatsoever. In fact, I’m very grateful for the opportunities and experiences afforded to me and my family in this country, and for the friendships we’ve cultivated over the decades. These are lifelong connections that could never be affected by distance.
I would like to thank God for all the blessings in my life. My faith sustained me during my many months in solitary confinement and gave me comfort that justice would ultimately prevail.
Our deep thanks go to the friends and supporters across the U.S., from university professors to grassroots activists, individuals and organizations, who have stood alongside us in the struggle for justice.
My trial attorneys, Linda Moreno and the late Bill Moffitt, were the best advocates anyone could ask for, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Their spirit, intelligence, passion and principle were inspirational to so many.
I am also grateful to Jonathan Turley and his legal team, whose tireless efforts saw the case to its conclusion. Jonathan’s commitment to justice and brilliant legal representation resulted in the government finally dropping the case.
Our gratitude also goes to my immigration lawyers, Ira Kurzban and John Pratt, for the tremendous work they did in smoothing the way for this next phase of our lives.
Thanks also to my children for their patience, perseverance and support during the challenges of the last decade. I am so proud of them.
Finally, my wife Nahla has been a pillar of love, strength and resilience. She kept our family together during the most difficult times. There are no words to convey the extent of my gratitude.
We look forward to the journey ahead and take with us the countless happy memories we formed during our life in the United States.
FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES ALL CHARGES AGAINST DR. SAMI AL-ARIANFrom the blog of Attorney Jonathan Turley
June 27, 2014
It is with a great sense of relief and thankfulness that I can now report that all charges have been dropped against my client Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Minutes ago, United States District Judge Anthony J. Trenga signed the order dismissing the indictment against Dr. Al-Arian. The case was before Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, but it was Judge Trenga who signed the order on Friday afternoon.
I have represented Dr. Al-Arian for roughly eight years as we fought for his deportation and the dismissal of these charges. We have litigated the case from the 11th Circuit to the 4th Circuit to the Supreme Court and back again. It has been a long and difficult road for the Al-Arian family.
STATEMENT FROM AL-ARIAN FAMILY
June 27, 2014
We are glad that the government has finally decided to drop the charges against Sami Al-Arian. It has been a long and difficult 11 years for our family in what has ultimately been shown to be a political case. We are relieved that this ordeal finally appears to be at an end. We hope that today’s events bring to a conclusion the government’s pursuit of Dr. Al-Arian and that he can finally be able to resume his life with his family in freedom.
We are so grateful to our brilliant attorney, Jonathan Turley and his legal team for their tireless efforts and advocacy on our behalf. Thank you to all of our supporters around the country and across the globe, who have stood behind us throughout the years.
Eleventh Commemoration of the Political Persecution of Professor Sami Al-Arian
Dr. Al-Arian still Awaiting Dismissal of Unjust Case
Washington, DC - February 20, 2014
On this day elevenen years ago Dr. Sami Al-Arian was snatched from his family and community by the U.S. authorities in a pre-dawn raid that the professor described in a poem. Thus, today marks the beginning of continuation of more than a decade of the incessant persecution of a voice of conscience for freedom in Palestine, and equal justice for all in America.
Silencing Palestinian Americans
By: Victoria Brittain
June 10, 2013
Just as the Bush administration found the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and ignored them, so the principle of "innocent until proven guilty," a part of Western civilization since Roman times, has all but disappeared for Muslims who face accusations of "material support" for terrorism. Such cases have, at times, involved high-profile men and once received significant media attention. Civil rights activist and University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, accused of being a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (a State Department-designated terrorist organization), was, for instance, treated like a man already being punished for his crime even before his trial. Previously, he had been a respected American-Muslim political leader with contacts in the White House and in Congress. Now, walking to pre-trial meetings with his lawyers, his arms were shackled behind him, so that, humiliatingly, he had to carry his legal papers on his back. Read More>>>
The Al-Arian Verdict's Seventh Anniversary
December 6 should Be Celebrated as "First Amendment Day"
Washington - Dec. 6, 2012
December 6, 2005 shall be remembered as a great day in which justice triumphed over intolerance and the First Amendment reigned supreme. On that day, a jury of twelve ordinary citizens refused to return a single guilty verdict against Dr. Sami Al-Arian and three other Palestinian men accused of terrorism in one of the most high profile cases to emerge out of the highly charged atmosphere after 9/11. Read More >>>
When Your Father Is Accused of Terrorism by Laila Al-Arian
The Nation. June 13, 2012
For a while, the phone stopped ringing. Not completely—reporters called, but many old friends did not. That’s how my mother remembers the days following my father’s arrest on terrorism charges in February 2003. At dawn, a team of FBI agents and police, clad in black uniforms, descended on my family’s three-bedroom apartment in Tampa, Florida. They arrested my father and carted away dozens of boxes filled with our personal possessions, from school report cards to laptop computers and journals.
Never Ending Prosecution and Vendetta: The Kafkaesque Story of Sami Al-Arian by William Fisher
May 29, 2012
In a nationwide press conference in 2003, George W. Bush’s attorney general, the born-again John Ashcroft, trumpeted the arrest of Dr. Sami al-Arian, who he described as “the most dangerous man in the world.”
All that was nine years ago. Nine years. And, in one form or another, Dr. al-Arian has pretty much been incarcerated ever since. Read More -->>
Personalizing civil liberties abuses: The Case of Dr. Al-Arian
By Glenn Greenwald - April 16, 2012
Dr. Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian whose ongoing persecution by the U.S. Government is one of the most repellent and unjust of any in the post-9/11 era. I can’t begin to convey all or even most of the extreme injustices that have been imposed on him. Read More -->>
Political Persecution, American Style: A film review
It is with gratitude that I mention that Line Halvorsen, a filmmaker from Norway, chose to make the outstanding documentary "USA vs. Al-Arian," (2007) chronicling a short period in the life of a family that has been suffering what is nothing less than American political persecution right in our suburbs for over a decade. On the one hand, this is the story of America seeking to keep itself secure. On the other hand, it is the story of the impact these sometimes questionable efforts have on a family.
Call for Justice for Dr. Al-Arian in Tahrir Square
May 13, 2011
USA vs Al-Arian Now Available on the Web FreeThe illuminating award-winning documentary chronicles the story of Dr. Al-Arian and his family during and after his Florida trial. Now it is available on the world wide web free. Click: USA vs Al-Arian
New on YouTube
John Sugg: Emerson, The Tampa Tribune and the Al-Arian Case
November 2, 2010
Why won’t the Tampa Trib tell you what people in Nashville know about Steve Emerson?Steven Emerson, a self-styled terrorism expert, in tandem with his vassal reporter at the Tampa Trib, Michael Fechter, waged a decade-long jihad against a professor at the University of South Florida, Sami Al-Arian. Emerson and Fechter were backed by a shadowy network of former federal agents and foreign spooks, notably a disinformation specialist for Israel’s ultra-right Likud party named Yigal Carmon and a controversial ex-FBI official named Oliver "Buck" Revell – and a lot of money whose origins have never been revealed. Read More>>>
The Ultimate Test of Democracy: The Right to Dissent
Global Forum on Freedom of Expression, Oslo, Norway, June 5, 2009
"USA vs Al-Arian" DVD - Special 2009 Edition OUT NOW!
Order your copy here http://www.amazon.com/
BONUS MATERIAL: Commentary by director Line Halvorsen, Leena Al-Arian, Abdullah Al-Arian and producer Jan Dalchow - USA vs Al-Arian, short version (52 min) - Featurette: What happened after the sentencing (2006-2009) - Interview: Sami Al-Arian, Orient Road Jail, Feb 2006 - Short: Look For Me – The Children of Gaza (dir. Tone Andersen) - Interview with Laila Al-Arian, Democracy Now! September 2008.
More info http://www.usavsalarian.
The Contrast between AIPAC Spy Case and Dr. Al-Arian's
By JAMES G. ABOUREZK------May 4, 2009
Dr. Al-Arian mourns his friend and former attorney William B. Moffitt
Northern Virginia- April 24, 2009
For over three years during my difficult ordeal with the US government between 2003 and 2006, I was placed in solitary confinement, having no contact visits with anyone except my attorneys, Bill Moffitt and Linda Moreno.
At the end of my first meeting with Bill in the spring of 2003, after my arrest, he hugged me and said: “this is how we greet each other, brother.” He was indeed not only my attorney, but also my trusted friend and brother.
Bill Moffitt passed away this afternoon after suffering a massive stroke. He was indeed one of the best legal minds and defense attorneys this country had ever produced. His sharp intellect and passion for justice were unmatched.
New on YouTube:USA vs Al-Arian Slideshow & Singing for Liberty
- Judge says integrity of Justice Department at issue in Al-Arian case
- Obstruction of Justice
- Press Conference for Justice Held in Nation’s Capital/Complaint Filed Against Prosecutor
- Motion to Dismiss Filed
- A Legal Odyssey: Illustration of ethical breaches, disdain for due process and anti-Muslim bias
- More Prosecutorial Misconduct in the Al-Arian Case
- Remarks by Dr. Al-Arian Regarding the 60th Anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Judge Allows Defense to File Motion to Dismiss
- Judge Agrees with Defense: 2006 Plea Negotiations Should be Revisited
- Federal judge says Sami Al-Arian plea deal does matter
- Prosecutors defy judge's order in Al-Arian case
- AP Report: Judge suspects feds duped defense in Al-Arian case
- Govt Admits: Fla. and Va. Prosecutors Were Split / Trial Postponed
- Dr. Al-Arian was Physically and Verbally Abused
- Al-Arian to face criminal contempt trial
- Contempt Charges Will Stand
- Introducing Gordon Kromberg, a Federal Prosecutor on the Hot Seat
- Relentless Terrorism Prosecutor Faces Accusations of His Own
- A Prosecutor Is Called 'Relentless'
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