Al-Arian talks (to Amy Goodman) By Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
Supporters of former USF Professor Sami Al-Arian said today his hunger strike is now in its 17th day, during which time he has lost more than 20 pounds.
The Tampa Bay Coalition for Peace and Justice say they now have over 75 people who have pledged to join in a rolling hunger strike to protest Al-Arian.
Al-Arian was scheduled to be released from prison this coming April, to fulfill the 1 count he pleaded guilty to last year in his widely publicized Federal Terrorism Trial.
However, because Al-Arian refuses to testify in a separate trial regarding an Islamic Think Tank based in Virginia, a Judge has now issued a contempt of Court charge against him, which could keep him incarcerated for another year and a half. He spoke about that in a rare broadcast interview on Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now program today with Amy Goodman (roll tape#1 o.q.”terrorist list”)
Al-Arian was originally suspended by USF after the Tampa Tribune and a PBS documentary reported that 2 Islamic think tanks that he was involved with had ties to Middle East Terrorists.
But after being cleared and returning back to campus, his life changed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
While appearing on Fox News’ O’Reilly Show 2 weeks later, host Bill O’Reilly brought up the charges from the 1990’s on national cable. Inundated by hate mail, USF suspended Al-Arian with pay. Later without pay, before ultimately firing him the following year.
He was arrested nearly 4 years on Federal Terrorism Charges, but was found guilty on only 1 count in late 2005. Al-Arian told Pacifica Radio’s Amy Goodman today his legal situation at USF after he was suspended,but before he was arrested in 2003 (roll tape#2 o.q..” to the truth”)
That was Sami Al-Arian, now being jailed in a prison in Virginia. That interview was broadcast nationwide this morning on radio and television on Democracy Now.
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For more information on his situation, including why he is conducting his hunger strike, you can go to the website freesamialarian .com