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USA vs Al-Arian
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Judge Agrees with Defense To Revisit 2006 Plea

Judge Agrees with Defense: 2006 Plea Negotiations Should be Revisited

Dr. Al-Arian's Saga Enters Its 7th Year


February 20, 2009 - Alexandria, VA - At a pre-trial hearing today, federal judge Leonie Brinkema denied a government motion requesting her to reconsider a previous ruling. At the last hearing, Judge Brinkema ruled that the government must provide information to the defense and the court regarding the original 2006 plea negotiations between the Department of Justice and Dr. Al-Arian's attorneys. 

This latest hearing in Dr. Al-Arian's criminal contempt case marked the sixth anniversary of his arrest in Florida in 2003. *(for a very brief overview of the trial and plea negotiations, please see end of this press release)

Linda Moreno Bill Moffitt Prior to the hearing, Dr. Al-Arian's attorneys submitted at least four declarations detailing the 2006 plea negotiations, and asserting the fact that non-cooperation was at the heart of the deal. Yesterday, the defense submitted the latest two detailed declarations (click here for the first declaration and here for the second) by Dr. Al-Arian's attorneys from the 2005 trial, Bill Moffitt and Linda Moreno. As these declarations reveal, the issue of cooperation was indeed central to the negotiations. The possibility of avoiding a trial or - later, after the trial was held -  reducing Dr. Al-Arian's sentence if he cooperated was even broached by government prosecutors. In both instances, Dr. Al-Arian rejected those offers.

After denying the motion, Judge Brinkema gave prosecutors one week to comply with her order. She noted that, while the government was not required to produce their own declarations, failure to do so would result in the court having a "one-sided set of facts." She added that many people would assume, "If someone is unwilling to divulge something, then there is something they are trying to hide."

Judge Brinkema has repeatedly stated the importance of reviewing this information, especially in light of the fact that none of the previous courts which have addressed the matter ever held an evidentiary hearing to examine what was discussed during the plea negotiations. In a new response by the government, prosecutor Gordon Kromberg claims that in 2007, the defense rejected the government's request for a limited evidentiary hearing before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and that, therefore, the judge should not grant such a hearing now. Professor Jonathan Turley, attorney for Dr. Al-Arian, responded that the statement is "completely untrue" and that it "demonstrates why the court needs to get government declarations under oath." He added that the defense has always asked for "a full evidentiary hearing and only objected to a limited one."

Government prosecutors have tried to argue that the issue of cooperation in the plea agreement is irrelevant, while the defense contends that it is at the very heart of the case. Judge Brinkema said as much during the last hearing, ordering prosecutors to turn over their own evidence. Otherwise, she said, there remains "a hole in the case."
Kromberg further tried to argue that it does not matter what took place during the negotiations because Dr. Al-Arian "was never going to testify no matter what." Defense lawyers noted in return that it is uncontested that Dr. Al-Arian would never have entered into a plea bargain in the first place if cooperation were a condition, either explicitly or implicitly. As both of Dr. Al-Arian's previous attorneys Moffitt and Moreno made clear in their declarations, not only did the government agree to the removal of the cooperation clause, but defense attorneys specifically brought up both the Eastern District of Virginia and Kromberg's investigation in particular, during the plea negotiations.

The facts regarding the 2006 plea deal negotiations are central for the defense's arguments at the upcoming trial. In their pre-trial motions, the defense counsel contends that Dr. Al-Arian did not testify because he was assured by his attorneys that he would not have to cooperate or testify on the basis of the negotiations. Judge Brinkema said she would not rule on what evidence would be allowed at trial until she knows all the facts. She said that another hearing would be set to decide the remaining pre-trial motions, although Dr. Al-Arian's trial on criminal contempt charges is still scheduled for March 9th.


*On February 20, 2003, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft sensationally announced Dr. Al-Arian's arrest as a seminal event in the War on Terror. After the subsequent trial in 2005, government prosecutors failed to secure any convictions against Dr. Al-Arian which led Time Magazine to declare the case "one of the Justice Department's most embarrassing legal setbacks since 9/11". In early 2006, Dr. Al-Arian's attorneys negotiated a plea agreement with the government that Dr. Al-Arian would be deported as soon as possible and that their client would not be required to cooperate or testify before any other grand juries. Although the last term was not explicitly written into the plea agreement, a standard cooperation clause with the government was removed, and no government prosecutors have ever disputed this understanding.

Documents & Releases

Statement of Chairs of American Muslim Task-Force on Civil Rights and Elections  (AMT) and  Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Howard Zinn Statement on Professor Al-Arian



March 2000

December 2005alarian.jpg

January 2009

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 be willing to pay the price to preserve our freedoms, dignity, and rights.
To be patriotic is to
challenge the abuses of the PATRIOT Act.
From a speech by Dr. Al-Arian


UFF Summary: Al-Arian and USF


Announcement of Book: The Al-Arian Reader

A new compilation of all relevant articles to be released soon by the National Liberty Fund

Selected Poems
by Sami Al-Arian

We Shall Rise

To Maya Angelou
Like the dream of the slave
You rise
And with the scream of the brave
I shall rise
In honoring the memory of your ancestors
You rise
With my stateless brothers and sisters
I shall rise
Like dust in the sunlight
You rise
And as ashes in a fiery night
I shall rise
You offend
Because of your existence
And I
For my resistance
You upset them
Recalling their past
And I
By holding steadfast
They may trod you in dirt
May cause me all the hurt
Inflict upon you excruciating pain
While they shut me up and detain
But they won't see you broken
Neither would my faith be forsaken
As you've never bowed your head
And never lowered your eyes
I'll continue to raise my fist
And hide my mother's cries
They may shoot you with their words
Cut me up with their swords
They may insult you with their eyes
Denigrate me with their lies
Trying to kill you with their hate
Bury me alive to seal my fate
But they'd certainly
Be shamed and fail
As the free chant and sing
On their march to prevail
So keep your head held high
As I follow you and try
And keep your beautiful smile
As I walk my first mile
They'll pressure and blame
Throw us in prison to control and tame
They'll exile and defame
Lynch us all or shoot and maim
Burn crosses with no shame
Target our children in a dirty game
But why is that a surprise?
Despite their evil and terror
Their falsehood and lies
You shall rise
And I shall rise
You're the black ocean
Leaping and wide
I'm the Mediterranean
With a stormy tide
Staying together
Side by side
It's no surprise
We shall rise
Surely shall rise
We together shall rise
No Longer Afraid
For us to feel "secure"
What price is being paid?
If living in freedom
Why are we afraid?
Fear is everywhere
All around
Perhaps irrational
But without any bound
You can see it on our faces
Sense it in our eyes
You can hear it in our whispers
Feel it in our cries
More>>No Longer Afraid
The Bird and The Vulture
The bird was chirping
In a house on a tree
But the vulture was angry
Because it was free
When the bird is singing
The vulture ain't safe
More>>The Bird and The Vulture
The Smile of Freedom
He looked like
A body-builder
Tall, tough, and full
All muscles and no fat
His mind was simple
Suited to follow orders
No questions asked
Acting mean and mechanical
Like any bureaucrat
More>>The Smile ...
In the Name of Freedom
In the name of freedom
We shall rule the world
To spread democracy
And set you free
In the name of freedom
We’ll descend on you
To make you civilized
Modern and orderly
More>>In the Name ...
The Accused: Franz Kafka Meets George Orwell in 21st Century America
Act I: The Mother of all Evidence
Act II- Weapons of Mass Deception
Act III: Silencing of the Lambs
Act IV: Attacks of the Wolves
Act V: Occupied Territory
Act VI: Police State
Act VII: Official Obituary
Act VIII: A Close Encounter of the Scariest Kind
Act IX: The Inquisition
Act X- Conspiracy Theory
Act XI- Secret Trials
Act XII- Silent Pain and Teary Eyes
Act XIII- True Patriot Acts
Do Not Sign
Rights are not for sale
History is not kind
On those who sell their people out,
Betray their cause,
Surrender their land
To tow the line
Do not sign
More>>Do Not Sign
Rachel Corrie: Daughter of Palestine
The most gentle
Amongst all honorable
Had a spirit
As dazzling as
The garden of
More>>Daughter of Palestine
Ole Jerusalem
O Ole Jerusalem
I feel your pain
I hear your cries
The light thunder
In the darkness
And the heavy rain
I see the steady bleeding
Of your wound
With its mark and stain
More>>Ole Jerusalem
Patrick Henry
A revolutionary
At heart
A patriot
From the start
Loved by his country
To the core
Defended freedom
Even more
Hated arrogance
In shape and tone
Fought tyranny
With every bone
He was the conscience
Of his people
Striking fear in the enemy
And made it feeble
More>> Patrick Henry
An overwhelming feeling
Of bitterness
Of hatred and rage
Trapped in a cage
Disappointment and anger
Continuing to linger
Wounding of dignity
Violating your virginity
More>> Injustice
Political Riddles
He sees the world as black and white
His solution to every quandary is fight with might
The economy will not stimulate
Because he can’t articulate
While jobs are gone
He says, “bring ‘em on.”
Who is he?
He likes to be called the General
The head of an agency that’s federal
If you spit on the sidewalk
He’ll send the Incredible Hulk
He hates to cite truth or fact
Because he’s busy promoting his unpatriotic act
He frequents TV cameras with a smash
The first part of his last name sounds like trash
Who is he?
He is the ideal dutiful poodle they say
From an empire where the sun did not set one day
He adores his cowboy friend and considers him a fan
And insists: I’m nobody’s yes-man
When the cowboy says no, I say no
Who is he?
More>>Political Riddles