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USA vs Al-Arian
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Jury is ready; motion lingers to move trial (5/20)

May 20, 2005
St. Petersburg Times

Defense attorneys say Sami Al-Arian cannot get a fair trial.
By Bill Varian

Link: Click here

TAMPA - A jury has been selected to consider charges that former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian supported terrorism, but his attorneys still say the trial should be moved.

Attorney William Moffitt has argued that there is a widespread bias against his client around the Tampa Bay region that will be reflected in any jury selected here.

"There's nothing that happened in there that dissipated my view of it," Moffitt said outside the federal courthouse in downtown Tampa on Thursday, at the end of four days of jury selection.

"It is a panel that I believe has some preconceptions about my client," he said.

U.S. District Judge James Moody has yet to rule on the request by Al- Arian and one of his three co-defendants to move the trial out of Tampa. He may rule as soon as today. The trial is scheduled to begin June 6 if Moody rejects the request.

After exercising a series of strikes to remove potential jurors, attorneys chose 12 from a pool that had been whittled to 89 people from an original field of 500.

The jury consists of six men and six women, including four people who have either served in the military or have family members who have. One woman has a brother currently serving in Iraq.

Attorneys also selected 10 alternate jurors, a number that may be reduced to six or seven people who would replace any jurors who fall off the panel during the trial, expected to last six months or longer.

Only limited information about the jurors is available. The judge has ordered that their names be kept secret and has sharply limited reporters or other onlookers from disseminating information that would identify them to friends and co-workers.

Alternates also will not be told they are replacements to ensure everyone in the jury box pays attention.

Several protesters gathered outside the courthouse at noon to urge the judge to move the trial, citing fears of bias. Pointing to a study presented by the defense, they noted that 95 percent of people polled in Tampa have heard of Al-Arian or the allegations against him. Of those, 60 percent said he is definitely guilty or probably guilty.

"That will make if very difficult for a jury in the Tampa Bay area to be fair and impartial," said Ahmed Bedier, director of the Central Florida branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Florida.

...Clues about the jurors were gleaned from three days of questioning sessions between the lawyers and the jury prospects, shown on closed-circuit television at the courthouse. Moody has yet to rule on whether he will release the 26-page questionnaires each panelist filled out that was designed to find out their biases.

One woman selected for the jury said her father served in World War II, and that she has an ex-husband who served a civilian role with the U.S. Navy. She belongs to an environmental group and a veterans advocacy group.

Another juror, the one with a brother serving in Iraq, is a native of Vietnam, a fact she said helps her appreciate misconceptions people have about other cultures.

A man on the panel said he is a member of a national group that advocates gun rights and has a wife who is retired from law enforcement. Another is a former reservist who served before the Gulf War.

The jury also includes a woman who said she was surprised to learn that a "gentleman" of Al-Arian's stature could be involved in what is alleged.

Attorneys spent three days questioning jury prospects about the case, which has gotten international attention and was the subject of bruising campaign attacks during the race for U.S. Senate last year. Some jurors said the publicity had shaped their feelings and ability to be fair, and were removed. Others were removed because of the financial or medical hardship serving for months would pose.

Al-Arian's wife, Nahla Al-Arian, watched much of the jury questioning, often mouthing silent words with her eyes closed.

"I was praying to God to protect us from this difficult ordeal," she said. "And to find fair-minded people in a community that is very biased. It's up and down my feelings, because I see nice people around me. Then I see these jury questionnaires that are full of hatred."

Bill Varian can be reached at 813 226-3387 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Documents & Releases

Statement of Chairs of American Muslim Task-Force on Civil Rights and Elections  (AMT) and  Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Howard Zinn Statement on Professor Al-Arian

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SPOTLIGHT

March 2000

December 2005alarian.jpg

January 2009

To be patriotic is to be able to question government policy in times of crisis.
To be patriotic is to stand up for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in times of uncertainty and insecurity.
To be patriotic is to  speak up against the powerful in defense of the weak and the voiceless.
To be patriotic is to be willing to pay the price to preserve our freedoms, dignity, and rights.
To be patriotic is to
challenge the abuses of the PATRIOT Act.
From a speech by Dr. Al-Arian
9/1/2002

Biography---

UFF Summary: Al-Arian and USF

Poetry

Announcement of Book: The Al-Arian Reader

A new compilation of all relevant articles to be released soon by the National Liberty Fund

Selected Poems
by Sami Al-Arian

We Shall Rise

To Maya Angelou
Like the dream of the slave
You rise
And with the scream of the brave
I shall rise
In honoring the memory of your ancestors
You rise
With my stateless brothers and sisters
I shall rise
Like dust in the sunlight
You rise
And as ashes in a fiery night
I shall rise
You offend
Because of your existence
And I
For my resistance
You upset them
Recalling their past
And I
By holding steadfast
They may trod you in dirt
May cause me all the hurt
Inflict upon you excruciating pain
While they shut me up and detain
By they won't see you broken
Neither would my faith be forsaken
As you've never bowed your head
And never lowered your eyes
I'll continue to raise my fist
And hide my mother's cries
They may shoot you with their words
Cut me up with their swords
They may insult you with their eyes
Denigrate me with their lies
Trying to kill you with their hate
Bury me alive to seal my fate
But they'd certainly
Be shamed and fail
As the free chant and sing
On their march to prevail
So keep your head held high
As I follow you and try
And keep your beautiful smile
As I walk my first mile
They'll pressure and blame
Throw us in prison to control and tame
They'll exile and defame
Lynch us all or shoot and maim
Burn crosses with no shame
Target our children in a dirty game
By why is that a surprise?
Despite their evil and terror
Their falsehood and lies
You shall rise
And I shall rise
You're the black ocean
Leaping and wide
I'm the Mediterranean
With a stormy tide
Staying together
Side by side
It's no surprise
We shall rise
Surely shall rise
We together shall rise
No Longer Afraid
For us to feel "secure"
What price is being paid?
If living in freedom
Why are we afraid?
Fear is everywhere
All around
Perhaps irrational
But without any bound
You can see it on our faces
Sense it in our eyes
You can hear it in our whispers
Feel it in our cries
More>>No Longer Afraid
The Bird and The Vulture
The bird was chirping
In a house on a tree
But the vulture was angry
Because it was free
When the bird is singing
The vulture ain't safe
More>>The Bird and The Vulture
The Smile of Freedom
He looked like
A body-builder
Tall, tough, and full
All muscles and no fat
His mind was simple
Suited to follow orders
No questions asked
Acting mean and mechanical
Like any bureaucrat
More>>The Smile ...
In the Name of Freedom
In the name of freedom
We shall rule the world
To spread democracy
And set you free
In the name of freedom
We’ll descend on you
To make you civilized
Modern and orderly
More>>In the Name ...
The Accused: Franz Kafka Meets George Orwell in 21st Century America
Act I: The Mother of all Evidence
Act II- Weapons of Mass Deception
Act III: Silencing of the Lambs
Act IV: Attacks of the Wolves
Act V: Occupied Territory
Act VI: Police State
Act VII: Official Obituary
Act VIII: A Close Encounter of the Scariest Kind
Act IX: The Inquisition
Act X- Conspiracy Theory
Act XI- Secret Trials
Act XII- Silent Pain and Teary Eyes
Act XIII- True Patriot Acts
Do Not Sign
Rights are not for sale
History is not kind
On those who sell their people out,
Betray their cause,
Surrender their land
To tow the line
Do not sign
More>>Do Not Sign
Rachel Corrie: Daughter of Palestine
The most gentle
Amongst all honorable
Women
Had a spirit
As dazzling as
The garden of
Eden
More>>Daughter of Palestine
Ole Jerusalem
O Ole Jerusalem
I feel your pain
I hear your cries
The light thunder
In the darkness
And the heavy rain
I see the steady bleeding
Of your wound
With its mark and stain
More>>Ole Jerusalem
Patrick Henry
A revolutionary
At heart
A patriot
From the start
Loved by his country
To the core
Defended freedom
Even more
Hated arrogance
In shape and tone
Fought tyranny
With every bone
He was the conscience
Of his people
Striking fear in the enemy
And made it feeble
More>> Patrick Henry
Injustice
An overwhelming feeling
Of bitterness
Emptiness
Hopelessness
Helplessness
Sadness
Madness
Of hatred and rage
Trapped in a cage
Disappointment and anger
Continuing to linger
Wounding of dignity
Violating your virginity
More>> Injustice
Political Riddles
He sees the world as black and white
His solution to every quandary is fight with might
The economy will not stimulate
Because he can’t articulate
While jobs are gone
He says, “bring ‘em on.”
Who is he?
He likes to be called the General
The head of an agency that’s federal
If you spit on the sidewalk
He’ll send the Incredible Hulk
He hates to cite truth or fact
Because he’s busy promoting his unpatriotic act
He frequents TV cameras with a smash
The first part of his last name sounds like trash
Who is he?
He is the ideal dutiful poodle they say
From an empire where the sun did not set one day
He adores his cowboy friend and considers him a fan
And insists: I’m nobody’s yes-man
When the cowboy says no, I say no
Who is he?
More>>Political Riddles