January 23, 2006

CONTACT: media@aclu.org

MIAMI -- Saying that a decision to re-try Dr. Sami Al-Arian following the recent acquittal of all serious charges lodged against him “would appear to be pointless and vindictive,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida today called on the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida to dismiss the remaining charges against Dr. Al-Arian and bring the case to a close.

“Although the government had unlimited resources and reportedly spent millions of dollars during the trial, it could not convince the jury that Dr. Al-Arian had committed any of the charged criminal activities,” said ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon.  “It’s time for the government to accept the judgment of the jury and bring this saga to an end.”

Simon sent a letter today urging dismissal of all remaining charges to Alice Fisher, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Paul Perez, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida.

The ACLU letter cited the recent jury acquittal of the most serious charges, which came after a lengthy trial in which government prosecutors presented hundreds of thousands of pages of exhibits and more than 450,000 recorded phone calls to make its case.

Dr. Al-Arian was arrested in February 2003 and charged with conspiring with a Tampa terrorist cell, charges which Dr. Al-Arian vehemently denied. The ACLU said the government failed to prove that he provided funds or otherwise engaged in any terrorist activities.

The ACLU letter is available at www.aclu.org/immigrants/evidence/23578lgl20060123.html


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