Tue10242017

Last update02:40:30 PM GMT

Font Size

Layout

Settings
Back Activities Alerts Update Alert: USA – Judge questions Justice Department's upholding of plea in Al-Arian case

Update Alert: USA – Judge questions Justice Department's upholding of plea in Al-Arian case

  • PDF
Share/Save/Bookmark
Federal judge Brinkema says prosecutors' dismissal of terms of Al-Arian's former plea agreement with government jeopardises “integrity of the Department of Justice”.

--------------------------------------------------------
Islamic Human Rights Commission
--------------------------------------------------------

11 March 2009

Update Alert: USA – Judge questions Justice Department's upholding of plea in Al-Arian case

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background


1. Summary

Sami Al-Arian's case against criminal contempt charges is now being reconsidered by Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema. Al-Arian was formerly indicted and charged with being a leader in Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and while jurors were unable to convict him of all charges, his defence reached a plea agreement with the government. That agreement would include immunity from having to testify in further investigations, amongst deportation after a 5 year prison sentence.

Nevertheless, federal prosecutors in Virginia filed a charge of criminal contempt against Al-Arian after he refused to testify before a grand jury over a subsequent terror network investigation, while defence cited his prior agreement and immunity.

Judge Brinkema, in questioning the foundation of such a contempt charge, noted:

“If that was what the mind-set was of the government prosecutors who negotiated the plea agreement, then in my view the government is bound by that".


2. Background

The upholding of the former deal struck between Florida federal prosecutors and Sami Al-Arian's defence is now being questioned by a Virginia Federal District Court judge, Leonie M. Brinkema, in Alexandria.

In 2005, jurors were not able to convict Al-Arian, who had been accused of being a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, of all charges. This eventually led to his defence reaching a plea agreement with the government, which was to include: immediate deportation after serving a near 5 year prison sentence, and immunity from having to testify in future investigations.

However, federal prosecutors in Virginia filed a charge of criminal contempt against Al-Arian after he refused to testify before a grand jury over a subsequent terror network investigation, with defence citing his prior agreement and immunity.

With the exact terms of that agreement now in question, it is this second point which prosecutors are challenging. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg told judge Brinkema:

“The man got an order to testify. He's got to obey it"…"It's not a defense to say, 'Oh, I thought my plea agreement said I didn't have to.'”

Nevertheless, Judge Brinkema is suggesting that the former agreement is in fact relevant, and has given Al-Arian's defence 10 days to file a dismissal of the criminal contempt case. Brinkema questioned Virginia prosecutors specifically over the fact that Florida prosecutors opposed their efforts to subpoena Al-Arian. On that point, Judge Brinkema noted:

“If that was what the mind-set was of the government prosecutors who negotiated the plea agreement, then in my view the government is bound by that"…"Whether this case goes forward or not, there's something more important here: the integrity of the Department of Justice.”

For further background information including prior IHRC alerts on the case of Sami Al-Arian, please visit the following links:

Alert Update: USA – Sami Al-Arian high court appeal rejected (http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3643)

Alert: US – Sami Al-Arian released on bail (http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3606)

Indicted, Sami Al-Arian Faces Possible Life Imprisonment (http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3476)

Support Dr Sami Al-Arian: Political Prisoner of the USA (http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=2571)


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Please help IHRC by visiting http://www.ihrc.org.uk/catalog and making a donation or buying an item from our on-line store.

If you want to subscribe to the IHRC list please send an email to subscribe@ihrc.org

If you want to unsubscribe from the IHRC list please send an email from your subscribed email address to unsubscribe@ihrc.org

If you are reusing this alert, please cite the source.

For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

Join the Struggle for Justice. Join IHRC.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Wembley
HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183
Email: info@ihrc.org
Web: www.ihrc.org

Don't be a Silent Victim

silent-victimHave you been verbally abused, harassed, discriminated against or even violently attacked because you are Muslim? Have you been mistreated by the police or security services or a victim of anti-terror laws? Click here to report your incident to us in confidence and, if you wish, anonymously.