SUPPORTERS OF DR. SAMI AL ARIAN SAY FEDERAL PROSECUTORS ARE VIOLATING THE TERMS OF HIS PLEA AGREEMENT12/13/06
Sami Al-Arian, the former University of South Florida professor who pleaded guilty last spring to aiding a terrorist group (the charge involved helping his brother-in-law, Mazen Al-Najar, on an immigration issue and no actual support for violence), was found guilty of contempt last month for refusing to testify in another terrorism-related case and could serve as many as 18 additional months in prison. Mr. Al-Arian pleaded guilty last April to providing aid to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an anti-Israel terrorist group. After a six-month trial in 2005, a federal jury found Mr. Al-Arian not guilty of eight of the most serious terrorism-related charges brought against him, but deadlocked on nine other counts. Before last month's contempt ruling, Mr. Al-Arian had less than 18 months left to serve in prison. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Mr. Al-Arian had been summoned to appear before a grand jury last month to answer questions about a Virginia organization that had given money to his Florida think tank. Mr. Al- Arian refused, asserting that his plea deal nullified any obligation on him to cooperate with the government. The presiding judge disagreed. In this interview with WMNF's Rob Lorei, Al-Arian's wife Nahla and his son Abdullah joined with Rev. Warren Clark (Friends of Human Rights) to discuss the issue of the plea agreement. They say the current prosecutor in the Virginia case has made anti-Muslim remarks and they think he should recuse himself. They are also calling on Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to drop leagl action against Al-Arian and allow him to serve out his prison term as originally agreed to in the plea bargain.