Abusive Treatment of Dr. Al-Arian Continues:Details of 36-hour Ordeal (4/13)
Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace
April 13, 2008
Subject: -[TBCJP]- Abusive Treatment of Dr. Al-Arian Continues
Details Emerge of 36-hour Ordeal
As reported on Friday, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was transferred that day
into the custody of immigration authorities, in compliance with a
plea agreement that promised his deportation. He was placed in the
special housing unit (SHU) of the Howard County Detention Center in
Jessup, Maryland, where he has been held in isolation and denied
medical treatment and visits with his family. New details have
emerged on Dr. Al-Arian's ordeal over the past 36 hours.
On the morning of Friday, April 11, Dr. Al-Arian was taken to the
federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia and placed in a holding
cell for three hours. He was then moved to the Alexandria Detention
Center where he remained for three hours until immigration officers
took him to an office in Fairfax, Virginia, for processing. At 10 PM,
he arrived at the Howard County Detention Center and was placed in
the general population in accordance with standard procedure. Several
hours later, however, Dr. Al-Arian was placed in the isolation wing
of the facility, surrounded by six empty cells. He has been placed
under 23-hour lockdown.
On the 41st day of his hunger strike, Dr. Al-Arian, for the first
time, was under no medical monitoring. For the previous 40 days, he
was housed either in the medical unit at Northern Neck Regional Jail,
or at the Federal Medical Center in Butner.
*What is more alarming, concerned citizens who have called
authorities at the Howard County Detention Center, have been misled
and lied to by the officials. Contrary to their statements, Dr. Al-
Arian's treatment is not standard procedure. Dozens of inmates arrive
to the facility daily, and none are subjected to these harsh
measures. In fact, Dr. Al-Arian had already been processed and
classified prior to his removal from the general population to the
*Dr. Al-Arian remains on his hunger strike, despite what the prison
officials are telling concerned callers. In fact, Dr. Al-Arian
repeatedly complained of dizzy spells and headaches, while medical
personnel at the facility refused to treat him. It was only after 8
hours of pleading that he was given pain medication.
*Officials have also passed on to callers a phone number that
allegedly belongs to INS, a government agency that no longer exists.
No one answered that number.
*Dr. Al-Arian was handcuffed on all four occasions he was taken to
medical personnel and forced to walk long distances and up and down
stairs, though he is in a vastly deteriorating state of health. At
the previous facility, he was given a wheel chair, or medical
personnel were brought to his room. Dr. Al-Arian has lost 34 pounds
since he began his hunger strike on March 3. He drank no water for
the first 18 days of the strike.
Basic Information about Special Housing Unit at Howard County
Dr. Al-Arian has been denied the following rights that were available
to him at Northern Neck and FMC Butner:
Regular access to telephone
Based on the punitive treatment of Dr. Al-Arian, it is clear that the
intentions of the authorities are to break his will. This reflects an
expressed desire on the part of government officials to end the
hunger strike he began to protest his indefinite detention. There has
been no indication that the Department of Justice intends to honor
its agreement and allow him to leave the country. The abuses Dr. Al-
Arian has suffered during the past two days are also punishment for
his refusal to testify before a grand jury. He has repeatedly
asserted that he will not violate his principles or the terms of his
1) All concerned citizens are requested to contact the facility and
call for Dr. Al-Arian to be treated humanely, and given adequate
medical attention. The authorities should be requested to uphold
their basic protocol regarding detainees, and not subject Dr. Al-
Arian to any punitive treatment. The number is (410) 313-5200.
2) We also ask that all concerned citizens contact their
congressional representatives and senators with the following request:
* That Dr. Al-Arian be treated humanely and given adequate
medical attention, since he has surpassed 40 days on hunger strike.
* That the government respects its obligations under the plea
agreement and allow his expeditious deportation.
* That they contact the Department of Homeland Security's
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to request Dr. Al-Arian's
* That they conduct an inquiry into the abusive practices by
prosecutors in the Eastern District in Virginia, including
illegitimate use of the grand jury process, and the punitive
treatment in Dr. Al-Arian's detention.
If only 25 concerned citizens in every district call or visit their
member of Congress, we can make a difference.