Sami Al-Arian


Dr. Al-Arian’s case has been one of the most closely watched—and controversial—post-9/11 prosecutions in the US. Al-Arian has been jailed despite a jury’s failure to return a single guilty verdict.

The Palestinian professor and activist has been in prison for five years on charges that he was a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Two years ago, a Florida jury failed to return a single guilty verdict on any of the seventeen charges brought against him. Despite the jury’s findings, Al-Arian remained behind bars. In 2007, Al-Arian was imprisoned for an additional eighteen months for refusing to testify before a Virginia grand jury. Democracy Now! coverage of his case includes exclusive interviews with Dr. Al-Arian, as well as interviews with his eldest daughter, Laila Al-Arian, a freelance journalist based in New York.

March 21, 2008: Al-Arian Enters 19th Day of Hunger Strike in Protest of 'Government Harassment'
Jailed Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian has entered the nineteenth day of a hunger strike to protest what he calls continued government harassment. He was brought before a third grand jury Thursday, but did not testify. We speak with Al-Arian’s eldest daughter, Laila, and his local counsel in Virginia, Will Olson.

March 16, 2007: As Health Deteriorates, Jailed Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian Enters 54th Day of Hunger Strike to Protest Indefinite Imprisonment
Sami Al-Arian is in dire condition. The jailed Palestinian professor has lost over 50 pounds as he enters the 54th day of a hunger strike to protest the circumstances of his continued imprisonment. We speak with his wife, Nahla Al-Arian.

February 07, 2007: EXCLUSIVE: Hunger-Striking Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian Speaks Out In First Broadcast Interview of His Four-Year Imprisonment
In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Sami Al-Arian speaks to us from prison where is on a hunger-strike. The Palestinian professor and activist’s case has been one of the most closely watched—and controversial—post-9/11 prosecutions in the United States. Al-Arian has been jailed despite a jury’s failure to return a single guilty verdict. In the four years since his arrest, Sami Al-Arian has never conducted a broadcast interview–until now.

February 07, 2007: The Family Toll: Sami Al-Arian’s Daughter on Her Father’s Imprisonment
Laila Al-Arian is Sami Al-Arian’s eldest daughter. She joins us to talk about her father’s imprisonment and its effect on the Al-Arian family. We’re also joined by Sami Al-Arian’s attorney, Peter Erlinder.

May 03, 2006: Daughter of Sami Al-Arian Says Family “Devastated” by Father’s Continued Imprisonment, Blasts Media Coverage
The case of Palestinian professor and activist Sami Al-Arian took another turn this week when a federal judge in Florida sentenced him to another year and a half in prison. We speak with his daughter, Laila Al-Arian, his attorney, Linda Moreno and journalist John Sugg who has been closely following the case.

May 03, 2006: Sami Al-Arian Co-Defendant Sameeh Hammoudeh Remains in Jail Four Months After Being Acquitted of All Charges
We look the case of one of Sami Al-Arian’s co-defendants, Sameeh Hammoudeh. Despite being acquitted in December of all the terrorism charges against him, he remains behind bars. Hammoudeh speaks to us from jail in Florida and we go to Ramallah to speak with his daughter, Weeam, who is waiting for him to be released and deported.

April 17, 2006: Jailed Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian to Be Deported After Prosecutors Fail to Convict Him on a Single Charge
Federal authorities have decided to deport Palestinian activist and professor Sami Al-Arian after failing to convict him on charges he helped lead the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. We speak with reporter John Sugg who has been tracking the case for over a decade.

December 07, 2005: Jury Acquits Jailed Palestinian Professor of Several Charges in Major Blow to Bush Administration federal jury on Tuesday failed to return a single guilty verdict on any of the 51 criminal counts against former Florida professor, Sami Al-Arian and three co-defendants accused of helping to lead a Palestinian terrorist group. He remains in jail. We speak with his daughter and a journalist who has closely followed the case.

October 28, 2004: Jailed Palestinian Prof. Sami Al-Arian Dominates Florida Senate Race
We take a look at the race for Florida’s U.S. senate seat between Democratic candidate Betty Castor and Republican candidate Mel Martinez where the case of jailed Palestinian professor Sami Al-Arian has become a major subject of debate.

July 09, 2004: The Case of Sami al-Arian
We take a look at the case of Palestinian Professor Sami al-Arian, who has been imprisoned for over a year and is awaiting trial on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder. We speak with his attorney Linda Moreno.

February 21, 2003: 'Whenever You Have War and Oppression Overseas, Rest Assured You’re Going to Have Repression and Injustice at Home' Shy Outspoken Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian; Indicted Yesterday By Ashcroft
The Justice Department yesterday indicted a leading Palestinian professor in Florida and seven other Muslim men for alleged connections to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization.

November 26, 2001: INS Arrests a Palestinian Teacher in Florida for Supposed Involvement with Terroristorganizations
With his wife at work and his three daughters still in bed, Mazen Al-Najjar walked out of his apartment Saturdaymorning to get quarters to do his laundry. Outside his apartment, INS agents were waiting to take him away.

October 12, 2001: A Middle Eastern Professor Is Suspended After a Fox TV Interview Alleges Ties to Terrorist Groups
Since the discovery that two of the terrorists involved in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center had attended a Florida pilot training program, the sunny state seems to have taken a central position in the eyes of the country.