June 27, 2008
Indictment for Refusing to Testify About Islamic Charities
The Washington Post reports that the Justice Department filed an indictment in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia charging Sami al-Arian with two counts of criminal contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Islamic charities in Northern Virginia. Dr. al-Arian is a former University of South Florida professor who recently finished serving time in federal prison after pleading guilty to a single county of conspiracy relating to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group. He also had been jailed for a year on civil contempt charges relating to his previous refusals to testify. Prosecutors are particularly interested in what he knows about the International Institute of Islamic Thought or IIIT, a Herndon, Virginia think tank that they believe is one of the key organizations in a Herndon-based network of Muslim charities and other entities that they began aggressively investigating shortly after 9/11. IIIT denies any terrorist ties. Dr. al-Arian is represented by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who has posted his criticisms of the indictment.
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