Acquitting a Terrorist - The Sami Al Arian trial highlights the danger of prosecuting terrorists via the justice system
December 7, 2005
FrontPageMagazine.com | December 7, 2005 "Today, the United States Department of Justice is announcing the indictment of Sami al-Arian and seven co-conspirators." That's how United States Attorney General John Ascroft began his press conference, back in February of 2003. It was a momentous day in the war on terrorism, a triumph of the Patriot Act. We caught a leader of a terrorist ring based in
Yesterday, al-Arian and his three friends were acquitted after five months of hearing testimony that seemed to point to the contrary. Of the 17 counts al-Arian was charged with, he was acquitted on eight of them, including "conspiracy to murder and maim people abroad," the most serious charge. The remaining nine were considered a mistrial, as the jury was deadlocked on them. Two of his co-defendants, Sameeh Hammoudeh and Ghassan Zayed Ballut, were acquitted of all charges against them. The other, Hatem Naji Fariz, was found not guilty of 24 counts, and jurors deadlocked on the remaining eight.
Until we hear from the jurors, it's hard to say how this could possibly have happened. The judge in the trial, James S. Moody, had stipulated to the jury that the prosecution needed to prove that the money allegedly going from
I cannot envision either of the above occurring, because I attended the trial. Along with the jurors, I watched the video of the 1991
Thus is the way of jihad. Thus is the way of martyrdom. Thus is the way of blood, because this is the path to heaven.
Along with the jurors, I watched Fawaz Mohammed "Abu" Damra – the individual that founded al-Qaeda's main American headquarters in
Along with the jurors, I watched these individuals in the video raise thousands of dollars for "martyrdom" operations, apart from raising thousands for "orphans." "Anyone like to donate for the Intifada? A knife to stab the Jews," Damra stated, to which the crowd loudly responded "Allahu Akbar!" ("Allah is great!") The intentions of these people could not be any clearer. Granted, there were times when half the jury looked asleep, but while this video was showing, their eyes were wide open. How could they discount this startling evidence?
Barring the unusual possibility that the
But is deportation for this man justice? If that were the case, Sami al-Arian would have been deported long ago. No, al-Arian should remain behind bars. Regardless of what the outcome of the trial was, he was guilty of being a leader in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist entity he co-founded.
One must consider al-Arian's co-defendant, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah. Sami al-Arian brought Shallah to
This case was a big blow for the war on terrorism. Although most Americans are attuned to what's happening in Iraq, they may have missed what's going on right in their own country. Sami al-Arian was a major player on the wrong side of this war. Because someone like him – someone who was so blatantly involved in terrorism – was acquitted, the Justice Department may think twice before bringing future terror cases to trial. And that undoubtedly will embolden the enemy.
On this day, terrorism prevailed.