Transcripts Add Fire to Al-Arian Controversy

August 12, 2005

Source: The Ledger

Wire Service: AP

On August 12, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "Many of the conversations are innocuous on the their face, phone calls among a Palestinian college professor and his associates discussing politics and mundane matters. Others, according to federal prosecutors, address the activities, finances and direction of a notorious Palestinian terrorist group whose deadly attacks have killed more than 100 people in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Federal prosecutors say that those intercepted phone calls and faxes, translated from Arabic and read by prosecutors in court, show a conspiracy to raise money and support suicide bombings and attacks by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a U.S. State Department-designated terrorist group. At the center of the conspiracy, prosecutors say, is Sami Al-Arian, a former University of South Florida computer engineering professor who is standing trial with three other men on charges that include racketeering and providing material support to terrorists. The hundreds of pages of transcripts form the centerpiece of the government's case against the men, who could be sentenced to prison for the rest of their lives if prosecutors can convince jurors that the defendants knew they were raising money to support violent acts... Al-Arian, 47, and his co-defendants deny they supported attacks and contend they are being persecuted for their pro-Palestinian views, unpopular with the U.S. government."