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December 7, 2005

Dr. Al-Arian Not Guilty; Patriot Act Dealt Blow

The Women Challenge US Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East (WCUSP) campaign of US WILPF issued an action alert regarding Dr. Al-Arian's case on November 11, 2005. I am pleased to report that Dr. Al-Arian was aquitted on 8 charges, although the jury was deadlocked on 9 other charges.

At this point, Dr. Al-Arian remains in custody. He could be re-tried for the nine charges the jury was deadlocked on. The US government could also try to deport him.

I am very happy to report that none of the defendants in Dr. Al-Arian's trial were convicted of any crimes. I will continue to watch this case closely, since justice will not be served until Dr. Al-Arian can return to his life with his family in Florida.

From "Not Guilty Verdicts in Florida Terror Trial Are Setback for U.S.," by Eric Lichtbau with contributions from Lynn Wanddell in the NYT:

"This was a very important case for us in that it tested both the Patriot Act and the right to political activity," [Ahmed Bedier, director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations,] said. "The jury is sending a statement that even in post-9/11 America, the justice system works, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, and political association - while it may be unpopular to associate oneself with controversial views - is still not illegal in this country."

From "Fla. Professor Is Acquitted in Case Seen as Patriot Act Test," by Spencer S. Hsu and Dan Eggen with contributions from Caryle Murphy and Julie Tate in WaPo:

"They have long proclaimed this as Exhibit A in the successful use of the Patriot Act and as one of their most important prosecutions in the war on terror," [David D. Cole, a Georgetown University law expert who represented Dr. Al-Arian's brother-in-law Mazen Al-Najjar] said. Prosecutors proceeded "on a kind of extremely sweeping guilt-by-association theory ... without any showing that he specifically furthered or sought to further any violent act of any kind."

More info: "Al-Arian acquitted on 8 terror counts: Trial tests power of Patriot Act after 9-11," by Pedro Ruz Gutierrez from the Orlando Sentinel, posted by NY Newsday

Posted by cj at December 7, 2005 8:04 AM


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