AL-ARIAN HEARING--FBI WONT SHARE TRANSCRIPTS OF AL-ARIAN TALKING WITH GOV. OFFICIALS-Andrew Stelzer03/10/04
The pre-trial hearings in the case of Sami Al-Arian continued yesterday. Al-Arian, along with three other Arab-Americans, were arrested over a year ago on charges of aiding Palestinian terrorist groups. Al-Arian was a professor at The University of South Florida; the government claims that he used his position to raise money for Palestinian terrorist groups.
A judge has ruled that the government will pay up to half a million dollars for the translation of documents related to the case. Also raised today was the fact that there are many tapes of Dr Al-Arian speaking with journalists, members of congress, high-level officials in the Clinton and Bush administrations, including Bush strategist Karl Rove. Attorneys for Al-Arian have repeatedly requested these tapes, and have not received them; however, in todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s weekly planet newspaper, one journalist reveled that the FBI has begun contacting and questioning him about these conversations he had with Al Arian years ago. Linda Moreno is one of Al-Arians lawyers
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“there was a period of time WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been asking for all the English language conversations, and weÃ¢â‚¬Â¦the FBI has been in contact with people, and were not getting the m for a reason. Its clear that Dr AL Arian had many conversations with congressional people.Ã¢â‚¬? Ã¢â‚¬?we believe that it points to Dr Al-Arians innocenceÃ¢â‚¬Â¦heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s talking to congress, not a terrorist, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s working within the system, working within the civics class.Ã¢â‚¬?
It was also revealed that during a sweep of Coleman state prison, where Al-Arian, and one of his codefendants, Sameeh Hammoudeh, are being kept, a notebook was taken by guards which had over 150 pages of hand written notes in it.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“they have no right to seize the hand written notes of a defendantÃ¢â‚¬Â¦the fact that they cant find it is of grave concern to us.
A prison administrator said they have no record that the notebook was taken. The judge did tell the prison warden to allow Al-Arian 30 minutes per phone call, as opposed to the 15 minutes he has been getting, and instructed him to try and find the missing notebook.