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Resolution of Al-Arian’s case welcomed

Samina Faheem Sundas,
Executive Director, 
American Muslim Voice

After spending ten years on investigating and spending five months on this trial our government failed to prove the charges brought against Dr. Sami Al- Arian. He has spent over three years, mostly in solitary confinement at a maximum security prison.

I cannot imagine the relief Dr. Arian's family must be feeling to know that at last he will be a free man. But this freedom is bitter sweet since he will be deported. This family has not been together since 20th Feb 2003 and they endured an uphill battle. I admire Dr. Arian's wife Nahla and their five children for their faith in him and for always fighting for his rights. He also had few friends and fans who stood by him.

I am confused, should I congratulate him and his family but I am wary of their agony of separation, yet again. But at least he will be a freeman where ever he may land. I wish all of them well.

Whenever  Muslim names are associated with any suspicious activity, the administration and the media create a big drama and leave behind a permanent negative impression on my fellow Americans about Muslims. This is one of the  reasons for the rise of anti Muslim and anti Islam sentiments in America.

Federal authorities have decided to deport Dr. Sami Al- Arian because after ten years of investigation and five month jury trial they could not convict him.

According to media reports, Al-Arian reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to a lesser charge and be deported to an unidentified country. A former defense attorney in the case said the government conceded in the agreement that there were no acts of violence committed by Al-Arian. Details of the agreement have not been made public and still require the approval of a judge.

The final outcome of the this three-year long trial is summed up by the Washington Post (4/14/2006): “Stung by the defeat in the high- profile case, prosecutors pondered whether to retry him on the remaining charges, including three conspiracy counts, or deport him.”

Dr. Al-Arian has signed this agreement on the advice of his two attorneys and several legal consultants. All of them had agreed that regardless of the outcome of the retrial on the remaining 9 charges, Dr. Al-Arian would be deported at the end of that lengthy process.

April 14, 2006