Saturday, March 22, 2008
Florida Professor Held In Prison Beyond His Sentence For Failure to Testify Against Muslim Charities
On March 22, 2008, the Washington Post reported that the Bush administration has threatened to keep Sami al-Arian (the University of South Florida professor who was jailed for terrorism related charges) behind bars after he completes his prison term if he fails to "testify before a grand jury investigating allegations that Muslim charities aided terrorism organizations." Here is an excerpt from the article:
Arian, who taught computer engineering at the University of South Florida, said he is declining to testify against the charities because he thinks they were falsely charged, "and he doesn't want them to be persecuted the way he was," said Jonathan Turley, his attorney. As a result, Arian is to be held at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va., on civil contempt charges.
Arian started a hunger strike early this month to protest his subpoena, and he was recently transferred to a prison medical center in North Carolina after losing six pounds in 36 hours. He went on a previous hunger strike that lasted months.
Arian was at the center of one of the nation's highest profile terrorism cases, accused of conspiracy to commit racketeering and murder and to aid a terrorist group, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in 2003.
Turley said his client's sentence should have ended a year ago. But a judge extended a civil contempt citation against Arian for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating the charities.
For the entire story, see "Refusal Keeps Terrorism Convict in Prison: Former Professor Fights Attempts to Force His Testimony Against Muslim Charities" in the March 22, 2008, issue of the Washington Post. For earlier blog posts about Muslim charities, see here and here.