Thanks to reader Miriam Adams for notifying me that Sami Al-Arian was freed on bail today by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after five years in prison:
Sami Al-Arian is out on bail in Virginia today, said his attorney Jonathan Turley.
“He is having a very cheerful reunion with four of his children in Washington, D.C.,” said Turley.
His wife, Nahla, and youngest daughter, Lama, returned to Egypt three days ago.
The former University of South Florida professor had been in federal custody for more than five years and was released this afternoon after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed with his attorneys that to hold him was a violation of his constitutional rights. Al-Arian had been held by ICE for 130 days and the legal limit was 90 days.
A federal judge had ordered the government to release him in July. Despite her ruling the Justice Department refused to do so and the judge ordered them to do so once again today, which is the only reason he is out.
Despite a five year battle by the feds to pin a terror charge of any kind on him, they never succeeded. Keeping him in jail seemed designed as a punishment for their failure, rather than a legitimate legal procedure. His release is a small victory for civil liberties and against Islamophobia in this country. It is a small victory against the Bush Administration’s perpetual war on terror.
He is nowhere near in the clear yet though. Now, he must prepare for a Supreme Court appeal of the supoena that led to his original contempt citation.