By Jonathan Turley Lead Counsel to Dr. Al-Arian 6/26/08

This evening the Justice Department issued indictments for Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Just yesterday in my testimony before the Judiciary Committee, I discussed Dr. Al-Arian’s case and the pattern of how the Justice Department has abused the grand jury system. As is eager to prove the pattern, the Justice Department indicted him despite his giving a full account of his knowledge of IIIT and his lack of any knowledge of any crime committed by IIIT or its officers. Our statement on the indictment is below.

The indictment of Dr. Sami Al-Arian is a continuation of a long campaign of abuse that has drawn international criticism. After failing to convict Dr. Al-Arian before a Florida jury, the government has continued to use any and all means to prolong his confinement in direct contradiction of a plea agreement reached after his trial. They have indicted him despite the fact that the prosecutors admitted that he is a minor witness in the IIIT investigation and he has already given two detailed statements under oath to the government and offered to take a polygraph examination to prove that he has given true information about his knowledge of IIIT.

Dr. Al-Arian has addressed every document cited by the government as the reason for his being called before the grand jury. He has shown that he has no incriminating information to offer against either IIIT or its officers. This indictment proves that the government was never interested in any information that Dr. Al-Arian has on the IIIT matter. This was a classic perjury trap used repeatedly by the government to punish those individuals who could not be convicted before an American jury.

The government spent an enormous amount of time and money prosecuting Dr. Al-Arian and defendants Ghassan Ballut, Hatim Fariz and Sameeh Hammoudeh in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa. After a six-month trial and over 80 witnesses, a jury acquitted Dr. Al-Arian of eight of 17 counts. There were only two jurors who voted against acquitting him of all of the remaining counts. Ballut and Hammoudeh were acquitted on all charges. No one was convicted of a single count and Dr. Al-Arian later agreed to plead guilty to a single count in exchange for being allowed to leave the country — an agreement that the Justice Department has broken as it continues to hold Dr. Al-Arian.

This is only the latest case where the government has manufactured a charge against someone who was acquitted before a jury. We have seen the same tactics used in the cases of Abdelhaleem Ashqar, Dr. Sami Al-Arian, and Sabri Benkahla. On behalf of myself and my co-counsel, Will Olson and P.J. Meitl (of the Bryan Cave law firm), I can promise that we will vigorously defend Dr. Al-Arian from this outrageous abuse of the grand jury system. We remain committed both Dr. Al-Arian and his family. We look forward to bring the full of this matter before the Court and the public.


How you can help.

See the documentary: USA vs Al-Arian