Alert: US – Sami Al-Arian released on bail

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The Islamic Human Rights Commission welcomes the recent release of Sami Al-Arian on bail.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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5 September 2008

Alert: US – Sami Al-Arian released on bail

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background


1. Summary

IHRC welcomes the release on bail of Sami Al-Arian on 02 September 2008, coming after 5 years of detention in federal custody. This gladdening news is indeed long-awaited since the statements of a federal judge clearly expressing that Dr Al-Arian poses no danger to anyone, and on the contrary should be allowed bail until his trial.


2. Background

Dr Sami Al-Arian is a Palestinian peace-activist and former University of South Florida professor who was convicted in 2003 on charges of funding terrorists. His conviction has received much media attention, and has been referred to as a 'federal witch hunt' by some. After a 2005 court win in which a Florida jury rejected federal charges linking Al-Arian to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, his attorneys struck a deal whereat he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge to face only deportation.

Dr Al-Arian had spent more than 5 years detained in federal custody, and had recently been under 23-hour solitary confinement at the Pamunkey Regional Jail in Virginia, despite the fact that 23-hour solitary confinement is considered a violation of the current UN Convention against Torture. On 29 August 2008, a trial for a contempt charge was indefinitely postponed until the Supreme Court looks into the case.

The release of Dr Al-Arian on bail is indeed gladdening news and most appropriate in light of the fact that a federal judge has stated clearly that Dr Al-Arian poses no danger to anyone, and on the contrary should be allowed bail until his trial. IHRC, who had written to the Pamunkey Regional Jail regarding his 23-hour solitary confinement, welcomes this decision.


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