Political Prisoner Sami Al-Arian Released

By Liliana Segura
September 2, 2008

After five years in legal limbo, the Palestinian university professor falsely accused of terrorism is free, but faces contempt charges.

Breaking, from ABC News.

Former professor Sami Al-Arian, who was once charged by the U.S. government with being a top Palestinian terrorist, has been released from custody for the first time in more than five years.

Immigration authorities released Al-Arian to the custody of his daughter, just hours before a federal judge had ordered the agency to explain Al-Arian’s continued detention.

Al-Arian, who once taught computer science at the University of South Florida, has been in the custody of either federal marshals or immigration authorities since February 2003, when federal prosecutors charged him with being a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

His trial on those charges resulted in an acquittal on some counts and a hung jury on others. He eventually struck a plea bargain admitting to lesser charges.

He currently faces contempt of court charges in federal court in Virginia for failing to testify to a grand jury. Prosecutors strongly opposed his release while he awaits trial.

Read more about the government’s persecution against Al-Arian here.

Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet’s Rights and Liberties and War on Iraq Special Coverage.

Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/97319/political_prisoner_sami_al-arian_released_/