THE IMPRISONMENT OF DR. SAMI AL-ARIAN01/14/04
Al-Arian is a former University of South Florida computer sciences professor indicted on federal charges of directing the North American operations of and fundraising for a terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He is currently being held at the Coleman federal prison, 70 miles north of Tampa, awaiting trial. His co-counsel, Linda Moreno, appeared on the show today describing how unusual it is for a defendant, awaiting trial, to be held in a federal prison. She described the conditions of Al-Arian's detention as inhumane: including physical isolation, strip searches, frequent handcuffing, exposure to temperature extremes, and lack of writing materials. Moreno says that Amnesty International has written to the Justice Department protesting his treatment. She also said the public should withhold judgment about Al-Arian's guilt until the defense can scrutinize the government's evidence, especially transcripts of phone conversations by Al-Arian and his co-defendants.