Al-Arian Case Decision
Muslims Feel Proud to Be Citizens of This Great Nation


Los Angeles: After a five-month trial and 13 days of deliberations, the jury acquitted Al-Arian of eight charges, including conspiring to maim and murder people overseas. After serving 33 months in jail awaiting trial and a verdict, Al-Arian was returned to prison and will remain there until prosecutors decide whether to retry him on the deadlocked charges.
Two other men, Sameeh Hammoudeh and Ghassan Zayed Ballut, were found not guilty of all charges. The fourth man, Hatem Naji Fariz, was acquitted on 25 charges, with the jury unable to decide on eight others.
"We commend the jury for offering its objective decision without being swayed by a negative political environment," said MPAC’s Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati.. "We congratulate Mr. Al-Arian and his family for enduring this painful ordeal."
The five-month trial included testimony by nearly 80 witnesses and the presentation of 1,800 faxes, wiretap transcripts, email and other exhibits. However, prosecutors conceded that no single piece of evidence directly linked the defendants to terrorist acts.
AMA: The American Muslim Alliance, a civic education organization with 101 chapters nationwide, HAS welcomeD the verdict in Al-Arian case as a victory for first amendment rights in the United States.
“Today is a great day for justice in America,” said AMA Chairman Dr. Agha Saeed who was the principal character witness for Prof Sami Al-Arian. “This outcome could have global impact in winning the hearts and minds of Muslims by demonstrating to them that in America a witch hunt against legitimate Muslim leaders, even if launched by a section of the establishment, cannot go unchallenged.”
Veteran community leader, Dr. Shabbir Safdar said, “This was basically a trial of free speech and free speech has won.”
The AMA statement reads:
“Today Muslims feel proud to be citizens of this great nation because this verdict upholds the American Constitution and demonstrates the independence of judicial system.
“This country is full of good people who love freedom and support liberty and justice for all. We applaud the academics, journalists, priests, activists and concerned citizens who stood with the accused and supported their right to due process and equal justice.
“This verdict has created a great reservoir of goodwill for the United States. The current administration could wisely use this moment to team up with its Muslim citizens in building bridges with the Muslim world.
“A free Sami Al-Arian would create a far better image of the United States than thousands of paid-for and planted stories bundled together.
“We urge the Bush Administration to respect today’s verdict, let Prof. Al-Arian pursue his legal options to regain his job, and become a living symbol of America’s open, pluralistic and rule-governed society.”
AMT: The American Muslim Taskforce for Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), a coalition of 11 major Muslim organizations, has also welcomed Tuesday's verdict in the case of Florida professor Sami Al-Arian and three co-defendants who were found not guilty on a number of counts related to supporting terrorism, perjury and immigration violations.
"The verdict in this case could have a global impact on winning the hearts and minds of Muslims by demonstrating that America is a nation in which the judiciary can be independent of political pressures, and citizens serving on juries can reach a verdict based on the evidence, not on fear or prejudice," said AMT Chairman Dr. Agha Saeed, who was a character witness for Al-Arian. "This is a victory for all those who support due process and a vindication of America's finest ideals and principles."
The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) is an umbrella organization represented by: American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Muslim Student Association - National (MSA-National), Project Islamic Hope (PIH), and United Muslims of America (UMA)


 

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