VA: Al-Arian's Contempt Citation Prolonged


VA: EX-PROFESSOR'S CONTEMPT CITATION PROLONGED

A federal judge has extended the contempt citation against a former Florida professor who has refused to testify in the investigation into whether Islamic charities in Northern Virginia were financing terrorist organizations.

Sami al-Arian will remain jailed until at least October under Wednesday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in Alexandria, Arian's wife and sources familiar with the decision said yesterday. Nahla al-Arian said Lee issued the decision at a closed hearing and indicated that he thought Arian -- who has served six months on the contempt charge -- still could be persuaded to testify to be reunited with his five children.

Not so, according to his wife.

Nahla al-Arian said her husband, who was acquitted in one of the nation's highest-profile terrorism cases and then pleaded guilty to a single charge, will never break his silence. "My husband is a man of principle, and he will never turn into an informant. We admire him and are proud of him," she said. "In our culture, as Palestinians, if a person becomes an informant for the government, this is very shameful."

A federal jury in Tampa deadlocked in 2005 on nine charges that Arian aided terrorists and acquitted him of eight counts. He then pleaded guilty to one count of supporting a Palestinian terrorist organization. Sentenced to 57 months, including time served, he was expected to be released from prison and deported this year.

 


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