Al-Arian ends hunger strike03/23/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Supporters of Sami Al-Arian announced this afternoon that the former USF professor today decided to suspend his water only hunger strike, which has lasted 60 days.
During his two-month hunger strike, Al-Arian lost 55 pounds and his ability to walk. After visiting him last weekend, his family was alarmed at his physical state and deteriorating health
Al-Arian’s wife Nahla told WMNF’s True Talk co-host Summer Jarrah earlier today that after seeing her husband yesterday, she pleaded with him to suspend the hunger strike, which he began nearly 2 months in protest to being held in Contempt of Court for refusing to testify to a Virginia Grand Jury. (roll tape#1 o.q.”and we will see”)
Al-Arian originally had been scheduled to be released sometime next month, after serving over 4 years in Jail, the last year after he pleaded guilty to one count in his federal terrorism trial held in Tampa in 2005.
This week was especially critical and dangerous for Al-Arian. Medical experts say the average person can last about 60 days without eating, and doctors consulted about the hunger strike cautioned that it could potentially cause permanent damage.