The U.S. media is widely reporting that Sami Al-Arian, a former leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was indicted yesterday for failing to testify before a grand jury investigating charities in northern Virginia that are part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. According to a report by the the Washington Post:
A former Florida professor who had pleaded guilty to aiding a terror organization was indicted yesterday on criminal charges that he refused to testify before a grand jury investigating whether Islamic charities in Northern Virginia were financing terrorists. Arian was accused in Tampa in 2003 of conspiracy to commit racketeering and murder and to aid the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, but his trial ended two years later in an acquittal on some charges and a mistrial on others. He later pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy in one of the nation’s highest-profile terrorism cases. He was sentenced to 57 months in prison, which he finished serving in April. He was expected to be deported, but prosecutors in Alexandria are seeking his testimony. He was charged again yesterday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria with two counts of criminal contempt. He could face additional jail time if convicted, but there is no maximum or minimum penalty. Federal prosecutors declined to comment, citing the Justice Department’s policy of not commenting on grand jury matters.
As previous posts have reported, the grand jury was seeing information about the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a think thank in the Herndon, Virginia that was one of the organizations sometimes referred to as the SAAR Network or SAFA Group that was raided by federal agencies in March 2002.
The Post also reported on comments by a spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood:
Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called yesterday’s indictment a “ludicrous decision” that is “growing evidence that the kangaroo prosecution of Professor Al-Arian in fact extends beyond the pursuit of justice and into the realm of vindictive political persecution.”
CAIR, along with the rest of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood has championed Al-Arian since the time of his arrest.
(Note: A copy of the indictment has been posted online.