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USA vs Al-Arian
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Al-Arian seeks change of venue (5/3)

May 3, 2005
St. Petersburg Times

His lawyers, citing constant news coverage and bias among potential jurors, want the trial moved out of state.
By Brady Dennis

Link: Click here

TAMPA - Attorneys for Sami Al-Arian, the former University of South Florida professor accused of raising money for a Palestinian terrorist group, have asked a federal judge to move the upcoming trial out of Florida.

Citing the constant barrage of news coverage, the recent U.S. Senate campaign in which Al-Arian became a central topic of debate, and evidence of "serious bias and prejudice" among potential jurors, attorneys said their client could not receive a fair trial in Tampa.

"The pressure to convict him in this community would be tremendous," the attorneys wrote in the filing to U.S. District Judge James Moody.

Attorneys William Moffitt and Linda Moreno said in their motion that during the past 10 years, "the print media in Tampa has associated Dr. Al-Arian with every act of terrorism that has occurred on American soil."

They claim that because of this "media harangue," "a significant portion of the community believe him to be guilty."

Moffitt and Moreno said the recent U.S. Senate campaign drew even more attention to Al-Arian's case. The references began during the Democratic primaries between Betty Castor and Peter Deutsch, when the Deutsch campaign began referring to USF as "Jihad University" and making allegations that Castor failed to take action when she found "a terrorist in her midst."

The negative publicity grew more intense, the motion claims, when Castor faced Republican Mel Martinez in the general election and local airwaves were saturated with ads featuring Al-Arian. During the first televised debate of the campaign, NBC's Tim Russert spent one-third of the time asking the candidates about Al-Arian.

And then came the questionnaires.

Al-Arian's attorneys claim that prejudice is rampant in the answers to surveys the court sent to prospective jurors. Of 328 potential jurors who returned the questionnaires, 155 already have been dismissed after saying that they had made up their minds that Al-Arian was guilty or because they made prejudicial comments about Muslims and people of Arab descent.

To bolster their claims, Al-Arian's attorneys submitted a report by a Duke University professor who is an expert on juror bias. The report states that while prejudice against people from the Middle East exists in other communities, it is exacerbated in Tampa because potential jurors have been exposed to years of media reports about Al-Arian.

Included in the recent filing is a community survey conducted in four cities - Tampa, Tallahassee, Miami and Atlanta - in which respondents were asked about their knowledge of Al-Arian's case.

Ninety-five percent of people in Tampa knew about Al-Arian. In Tallahassee, nearly 75 percent of people had heard of him; in Miami, more than 60 percent. His recognition rate in Atlanta, however, was 33 percent.

In Tampa, nearly 60 percent of people believed, without ever seeing any evidence in court, that Al-Arian was definitely guilty or probably guilty. That number fell to 34 percent in Tallahassee, 28 percent in Miami and less than 15 percent in Atlanta.

Regarding the media coverage of Al-Arian, his attorneys especially took issue with the Tampa Tribune and reporter Michael Fechter, saying that the "prejudicial and inflammatory reporting about Dr. Al-Arian" over the years had unfairly portrayed Al-Arian as a terrorist and "led many to question whether the newspaper had abandoned its role as a neutral observer."

Janet Weaver, the Tribune's executive editor, said the newspaper's stories on Al-Arian were subjected to a rigorous review for accuracy and fairness before they were published, and that Al-Arian was given an opportunity to comment in each story.

"I believe it's been accurate and it's been appropriate," Weaver said of the newspaper's coverage.

On Monday, Al-Arian's notoriety also prompted one of his co-defendants, Hatim Naji Fariz, to also ask for a change of venue. The federal public defender's office, which represents Fariz, argued that "Mr. Fariz will be denied his constitutional right to trial by an impartial jury if he is to be tried in Tampa alongside Dr. Al-Arian."

Al-Arian and three other men are scheduled to be tried on federal racketeering and conspiracy charges later this month, facing potential life sentences if convicted.

The four men are accused of using an academic think tank and Palestinian charity founded by Al-Arian as a fundraising front for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The terrorist group is believed to be linked to attacks in Israel that have claimed more than 100 lives.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin May 16. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa declined to comment Monday on the motions for a change of venue, and no hearing date has been set.

--Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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

SITE SEARCH

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