Sami Al-Arian Hungerstrike Update

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Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace
March 18, 2008

DR. AL-ARIAN TRANSFERRED TO VIRGINA

ALEXANDRIA, Va.– On Tuesday, Mar. 18, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was transferred from the Federal Medical Center in Butner, NC back to the local jail in Warsaw, Virginia where he was held previously, to comply with a judge’s March 3 order granting him immunity for a THIRD grand jury appearance. On Mar. 3 Dr. Al-Arian began a water and food strike to protest persistent harassment and psychological torture by the Department of Justice. He has since lost 30 pounds.

Dr. Al-Arian is being asked to testify before yet another grand jury less than three weeks before his scheduled release date. His attorneys have advised Dr. Al-Arian not to testify, as the plea agreement signed with prosecutors in April 2006 removed the possibility of cooperation. Additionally, these grand jury subpoenas are a trap intended to prolong Dr. Al-Arian’s imprisonment long after his promised release date. If he testifies, he is to be charged with perjury, facing years of additional prison time. If he is convicted of criminal contempt for not testifying, Dr. Al-Arian faces a minimum of five years in prison. These efforts to convict Dr. Al-Arian in a wholly separate case (more than two years after he was acquitted by a federal jury) are clearly a last-ditch, vindictive effort on behalf of the Justice Department, led by a rogue prosecutor who has made bigoted statements against Muslims, to punish Dr. Al-Arian for his acquittal. The Department of Justice must keep the promise it made to Dr. Al-Arian in his plea agreement and release him on April 7, when his current sentence is up.

Members of Dr. Al-Arian’s family visited him last weekend at the prison medical facility where he was being held in Butner, North Carolina. They observed the effects of the hunger strike on Dr. Al-Arian, noting symptoms of severe dehydration. As of Monday, Dr. Al-Arian was examined by a doctor only one time in nearly a week. The government refuses to allow an outside doctor to examine Dr. Al-Arian despite requests by his attorneys, family members, and thousands of supporters. Butner Medical Center received thousands of telephone calls from concerned people from across the country and around the world.

TAKE ACTION

Given that Dr. Al-Arian has been on a hunger strike since March 3, 2008 we urgently ask all conscientious and justice-seeking individuals to FAX OR WRITE Judge Gerald Lee to ask for an immediate end to Dr. Al-Arian’s suffering.

1- Honorable Judge Gerald Lee
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA 22314

Fax: (703) 299-3339

2-Please contribute to the National Liberty Fund to help alleviate costs of Dr. Al-Arian’s legal defense:

Please send checks to:

National Liberty Fund
P.O. Box 1211
24525 E. Welches Road
Welches, OR 97067

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