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USA vs Al-Arian
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Al-Arian jury pool slowly pared (5/17)

May 17, 2005
St. Petersburg Times
By Bill Varian

Link: Click here

TAMPA - Prospective juror No. 66 said he thinks the government wouldn't have spent so much time investigating Sami Al-Arian if he hadn't done something wrong.

And prospective juror No. 84 thought Betty Castor had her head in the sand about Al-Arian when she was president of the University of South Florida.

Still, both said their opinions wouldn't sway them, so they made the first cut Monday in the opening day of jury selection in the long- anticipated trial of Al-Arian and three co-defendants who are accused of aiding a Palestinian terrorist group.

The jury questioning came as a defense attorney for Al-Arian restated his call to move the trial because of a bias against his client. Attorneys for news organizations urged the judge to lift his ban on describing jurors.

U.S. District Judge James Moody will wait until after prospective jurors are questioned before deciding whether to move the trial. He also delayed ruling on the news media request, while saying his initial order was mainly aimed at keeping the name, address and employer of potential jurors from the public so they don't face outside pressure.

William Moffitt, Al-Arian's normally chatty co-counsel, made few remarks after nearly eight hours of courtroom jockeying.

"We can't afford to be accused of screaming outside the courthouse and contributing to the pretrial publicity," Moffitt said

...The case has generated national attention and is expected to draw a throng of reporters for opening statements June 6.

The trial is expected to last six months.

The atmosphere around the Federal Courthouse in downtown Tampa was subdued Monday, despite barricades erected in case of trouble.

About 30 reporters and other onlookers filed into a fifth-floor room of the courthouse to watch jury questioning on closed-circuit television. Moody's 13th-floor courtroom can hold only about 35 spectators, so it was closed to make room for jurors, attorneys and courtroom workers.

About 500 questionnaires were sent to prospective jurors. After getting answers from 322, the pool was pared by more than 150 whose answers suggested they couldn't be impartial because of feelings about the case or because of extreme work conflicts.

Judge Moody is attempting to question 50 a day of the nearly 160 who remain. The candidates are being interviewed in groups of five so that one person doesn't say something that taints a large group.

Defense attorneys argued that many still showed bias against their clients because of news coverage, the bruising fall Senate campaign in which Al-Arian was an issue or because of distractions from illness or work. The judge fell one shy of his 50-person goal Monday and weeded 14 people from the pool.

Moody denied all but four of a dozen requests by defense attorneys to remove prospective jurors because of perceived prejudice. Prosecutors made no effort to have any panelist removed, telling prospective jurors that it was all right to have opinions about the case as long as they set them aside and consider only evidence presented at the trial.

Several did voice a bias, but, like Nos. 66 and 84, said they could be impartial.

Moody is seeking to seat a jury of 12, with several alternates. Defense attorneys will be allowed to have a combined 20 jury prospects removed. Prosecutors get 10 strikes.

In his own remarks to jurors, Moody urged them not to talk about the trial to family, friends and co-workers, and to avoid all media accounts.

"I'm telling you right now it will be difficult," he said.

--Researcher Cathy Wos and staff writer Graham Brink contributed to this report. 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


Do you think Sami Al-Arian can get a fair trial in Tampa? Please vote "No" in this poll:

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



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


UFF Summary: Al-Arian and USF


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
Had a spirit
As dazzling as
The garden of
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
An overwhelming feeling
Of bitterness
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