Justice Department Taking Steps to Charge Sami Al-Arian

March 4, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The New York Sun


The Justice Department is taking the first steps toward what could be another criminal prosecution of a former Florida college professor and prominent Palestinian Arab activist, Sami Al-Arian. One of Al-Arian's attorneys, Jonathan Turley, said a hearing was held in federal court yesterday in Alexandria, Va., after prosecutors summoned Al-Arian before a grand jury there. Al-Arian has already spent more than a year in civil contempt after refusing to appear before two grand juries investigating Islamic charities in Northern Virginia. The latest move comes just weeks before Al-Arian's criminal sentence was to run out, triggering his deportation.

"We had been hoping that the government would consider a year of imprisonment sufficient," Mr. Turley said. "It's clear that the government is not satisfied and plans to seek additional imprisonment."

A trial of Al-Arian in 2005 on charges stemming from his alleged role as Palestinian Islamic Jihad's top leader in America resulted in an acquittal on eight counts and a hung jury on nine others. After he agreed to plead guilty to a single charge of aiding a terrorist group, he was sentenced to 57 months in prison.