Courtesy Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace
TAMPAâ€” Yesterday afternoon, Dr. Sami Al-Arian, who began a hunger strike Monday to protest government harassment, was moved to the medical unit of Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia. Jail officials made the decision to move Dr. Al-Arian so they can closely monitor his health. Dr. Al-Arian, who is abstaining from both food and water as part of his hunger strike, has already lost six pounds in the past 36 hours.
â€œThe Department of Justice has disgraced its own mandate of the pursuit of justice and made a mockery of the bedrock principle of trial by jury in its shameful persecution of Dr. Al Arian,â€ said Linda Moreno, one of Dr. Al-Arianâ€™s trial attorneys. â€œOne can only conclude, after a fair consideration of the record, that this is the new form of lynching, not hung from a tree by hooded criminals, but rather suspended between prison and limbo by political prosecutors with no end in sight. The Constitution has been canceled until further notice.â€
â€œThe manipulation of the grand jury by Assistant US Attorney Kromberg, and the failure of the Justice Department and the Courts to respect basic contract-law principles in enforcing the terms of the `no-cooperationâ€™ plea agreement, is making a mockery of the Sixth Amendment right to jury trial,â€ said Peter Erlinder, professor at William Mitchell School of Law. â€œAll Americans should reject this continuing manipulation of our legal system the same way the Tampa jury rejected the case against Dr. al Arian, when they acquitted him in December 2005.â€
The National Lawyers Guild yesterday released a statement calling the latest summons to appear before a grand jury â€œpunitive government harassmentâ€ of Dr. Al-Arian.