Sami Al-Arian has been transferred to the custody of immigration authorities, which could be a sign he is about to be deported.
Al-Arian’s attorney, George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley, said it’s also possible the transfer was only temporary, necessitated by the fact that he has served his sentence for contempt.
Federal authorities may be preparing another contempt charge against Al-Arian, who is refusing for the third time to testify before a federal grand jury, Turley said.
“We are still concerned the government will try to bring another criminal charge to prolong his confinement,” Turley said. “The government has already shown that it will go to extreme lengths to prolong his incarceration.”
In the meantime, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Al-Arian supporters to write legislators about the actions of the government in his case.
“You cannot have justice without truth, and you cannot have peace without justice,” Donnie Ali, communications coordinator of CAIR in Tampa, said during a news conference on the steps of the federal courthouse in Tampa.
Supporters expressed concern for Al-Arian’s health, noting he is in the 42nd day of a hunger strike. “His family is worried for his life,” said Lois Price, who was at the news conference. “They’re forcing him to walk long distances and moving him between facilities.”
Al-Arian, a former professor at the University of South Florida, was tried in 2005 on terrorism-related charges when federal prosecutors alleged he was a fundraiser for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Jurors acquitted him of eight counts and deadlocked on nine others. (MORE)