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The Perpetual Trial of Sami Al-Arian

By       Message WILLIAM FISHER     Permalink
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He added, "The Al-Arian case is a classical case of injustice and ideological corruption of the justice system.   The judge (appointed by Bill Clinton) as well as the prosecutors should be disbarred. Everyone on the government side acted unethically, if not illegally."

There is at least one further irony in the seemingly endless prosecution of Dr. Al-Arian. Early in his trial, the judge ruled that information concerning the Israeli-Palestinian dispute could not be admitted as evidence. Yet that dispute is at the very center of the case and of Al-Arian's life. Were there no Israeli-Palestinian dispute, there would be no trial.

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This is how Alexander Cockburn described this strange ruling   in his CounterPunch magazine:

"The man presiding over al-Arian's trial was US District Court Judge James Moody, a creature from the dark lagoon of Floridian jurisprudence. Hospitable to all testimony from Israelis, Moody ruled that al-Arian and his associates could not say a single word about the military occupation or the plight of the Palestinian

people. During closing arguments, the prosecution noted a document that mentioned UN Resolution 242. Moody nixed that on the grounds that it showed Palestinians in altogether too warm a light and therefore might tax the objectivity of the jurors" if MLK had been on trial in Judge Moody's courtroom for disturbing the peace, he wouldn't have been allowed to mention Jim Crow or lynchings."  

But the last word goes to Glenn Greenwald:

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"Al-Arian is in a frozen zone: denied his most basic liberties but without any ability to contest the charges against him. He's now been imprisoned in one form or another since 2003, all stemming from extremely dubious charges that the U.S. Government, less than two years after the 9/11 attack, could not even get a Central Florida jury -- with a very hostile judge -- to convict him on. In reality, al-Arian has been persecuted for one reason only: because he's a Palestinian activist highly critical of the four-decade brutal Israeli occupation."

This article originally appeared in the web pages of Prism Magazine.

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William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)

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