Sunday, June 8
Escape Java Joint, 916 Williamson St.
This film about U.S. political prisoner Dr. Sami Al-Arian will be shown with remarks by Professor Mel Underbakke, a colleague of Al-Arian. Professor Underbakke is taking this film on a national tour to raise awareness of the Al-Arian case. For more information on the tour see www.freesamialarian.com.
Peregrine Forum, the Madison Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project are co-sponsors of this event.
Sami Al-Arian’s Long Ordeal
Stephen Lendman, Opednews.com, March 24, 2008
Sami Al-Arian is a political prisoner in Police State America. This article reviews his case briefly and updates it to the present.
Because of his faith, ethnicity and political activism, the Bush administration targeted Al-Arian for supporting “terrorism.” In fact, he’s a Palestinian refugee, distinguished professor and scholar, community leader and civil activist.
Nonetheless, the FBI harassed him for 11 years, arrested him on February 20, 2003, and falsely accused him of backing organizations fronting for Palestinian Islamic Jihad – a 1997 State Department-designated “Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).”
A week later, in spite of his many awards, impeccable credentials and tenured status, University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft fired him under right wing pressure.
Since February 20, 2003, Al-Arian has been imprisoned – first at Tampa, Florida’s Orient Road jail, then on to more than a dozen different maximum and other federal prison facilities. He’s currently on hunger strike at Warsaw, Virginia’s Northern Neck Regional jail after being transferred back March 18 from Butner, North Carolina’s medical prison.
Al-Arian’s trial began in June 2005 and was a travesty. It lasted six months, cost an estimated $50 million, and the prosecution called 80 witnesses, including Israeli intelligence agents and victims of suicide bombings to prejudice the jury. It introduced portions of hundreds of wiretapped phone calls from over a half million recorded; “evidence” from faxes, emails and what was seized from his home; quotes from his speeches and lectures; conferences, events and rallies he attended; articles he wrote; books he owned; magazines he edited; and various publications he read – all legal and in no way incriminating unless falsely twisted to appear that way.
After years of effort and millions spent, Al-Arian was exonerated. On December 6, 2005 after 13 days of deliberation, the jury acquitted him of all (eight) “terrorism” charges. They were deadlocked 10 – 2 for acquittal on nine others. All of them were false and unjust.