Friday, June 27, 2008
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.