In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AMERICAN MUSLIMS CALL AL-ARIAN IMPRISONMENT ‘DOUBLE JEOPARDY’
National Islamic coalition seeks end to ‘harassment’ of Florida professor
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/29/07) – The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), a national coalition of major American Muslim organizations, today said the new prison sentence given to former Florida professor Sami Al-Arian amounted to unconstitutional “double jeopardy.”
Al-Arian recently began a hunger strike after being given a sentence of up to 18 months for refusing to testify before a grand jury in Virginia. He and his attorney say an early plea agreement freed him from further cooperation with the government. Al-Arian’s supporters say he is being held in a rat and cockroach-infested prison and is being forced to wear dirty and inadequate clothing as a form of harassment.
In 2005, a Florida jury rejected federal charges that Al-Arian operated a cell for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was scheduled for release and deportation in April.
SEE: Al-Arian: I Was Double-Crossed (NY Sun)
SEE ALSO: No Guilty Verdicts in Al-Arian Trial (Tampa Tribune)
In a statement, the AMT said:
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the government is seeking to impose legal and physical penalties on Dr. Al-Arian that it could not obtain through the judicial process. The government’s actions amount to an unconstitutional ‘double jeopardy’ situation in which a person who was cleared of all charges by a jury of his peers is nonetheless being imprisoned in harsh conditions through administrative means.
“We call on all fair-minded Americans who care about the preservation of the integrity of our nation’s legal system to speak out about this apparent abuse of prosecutorial power. We also call on federal authorities to cease their harassment of Dr. Al-Arian and to release him as scheduled so that he and his family can resume their lives in another country.”
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AMT members endorsing this statement include: American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Student Association-National (MSA-N), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), Project Islamic Hope (PIH), and United Muslims of America (UMA)
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