[Sayma-Announce] FW: U.S. political prisoner near death

Mike Shell bright_crow at mindspring.com
Fri Mar 23 20:02:19 EDT 2007


Please share this information widely.  It was forwarded by Lyn Cope, Admin Assistant for Southeastern Yearly Meeting.


>--------- Forwarded message ----------
>From: Lyn Cope <admin at seym.org>
>Please forward this widely.  There appears to be a national
>press blackout on Sami Al-Arian's impending death in prison.
>Dr. Al-Arian is a political prisoner who has never been
>convicted of any crime.  He accepted a plea bargain to avoid
>years in prison awaiting retrial on charges the jury deadlocked
>on (10-2 for acquittal).  Federal prosecutors promptly violated
>the plea agreement, and have shown clear intent to hold him
>in prison for life.  The hunger strike is his response to
>this situation.  
>From: John Arnaldi <jarnaldi at earthlink.net>
>Date: March 20, 2007 11:17:50 AM EDT
>To: "jarnaldi at earthlink.net" <jarnaldi at earthlink.net>
>Subject: URGENT Plea for Help for Sami Al-Arian
>Reply-To: John Arnaldi <jarnaldi at earthlink.net>
>Urgent: Sami Al-Arian is in grave condition, but not
>receiving medical treatment. He has not eaten in 58 days and
>has lost 25% of his body weight. See updates below.
>Please call or send e-mails to the following people (and
>please distribute this e-mail). Ask for immediate medical
>intervention to save his life and legal intervention to end
>his unlawful incarceration in North Carolina in violation of
>his plea agreement with the Department of Justice.
>Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints The Office of the
>Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice
>inspector.general at usdoj.gov
>Hotline: (800) 869-4499
>The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., Chair of House Judiciary
>(202) 225-5126
>John.Conyers at mail.house.gov
>Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of Senate Judiciary Committee
>(202) 224-4242
>senator_leahy at leahy.senate.gov
>Thank you!
>--John Arnaldi
>St. Petersburg Times
>Al-Arian's gaunt condition stuns his family
>He has lost 53 pounds during his 58-day hunger strike in prison.
>Published March 20, 2007
>Sami Al-Arian has been on a hunger strike for 58 days to
>protest being held beyond his prison sentence. On a
>water-only diet, he has lost 53 pounds. The former
>University of South Florida professor can no longer walk,
>speaks in a whisper and trembles constantly because of low
>body temperature, said family members who visited him last
>weekend at a federal medical prison in Butner, N.C.
>"We were stunned when we saw him. His deterioration is
>shocking," said Al-Arian's son, Abdullah, 26.
>Al-Arian, 49, is bedridden in an isolation cell. A nurse
>checks on him twice a day, and a video camera records his
>every move, say officials from the Federal Bureau of
>Prisons. Three hot meals are placed in his cell every day,
>for two hours at a time. Then they are removed, untouched.
>"We will not let him die. We will force feed him before that
>happens," Nikki Credic, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals
>Service said.
>But Al-Arian's family is calling his condition "dire."
>"We are extremely worried for his life," said his wife
>Al-Arian went on the strike Jan. 22 to protest being held in
>jail beyond his sentence because he refused to testify
>before a Virginia grand jury.
>Last May he pleaded guilty, as part of a plea agreement, to
>helping associates of a terrorist group with nonviolent
>activities. The plea agreement came after a jury acquitted
>Al-Arian of eight terrorism-related charges and deadlocked
>on nine lesser counts.
>While no explicit language was written into the plea
>agreement about Al-Arian's exemption from testimony before a
>grand jury in Virginia, federal prosecutors in Tampa agreed
>with defense attorneys that Al-Arian would not have to
>testify in Virginia. That verbal agreement was recorded in
>court transcripts. Seven months later, he was transferred to
>a Virginia jail and ordered to testify.
>Al-Arian, who is 6 feet tall, weighed 202 pounds when the
>hunger strike began, and is now 149 pounds.  2007  All
>Rights Reserved  St. Petersburg Times 490 First Avenue
>South  St. Petersburg, FL 33701  727-893-8111
>Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace
>March 19, 2007
>Dr. Al-Arian's Family Visits Him in Medical Facility
>This past weekend, Dr. Sami Al-Arian's family traveled to
>Butner, North Carolina to visit him at the federal medical
>prison facility where he has been held during his 8-week
>water-only hunger strike. Today marks the 57th day of the
>hunger strike for justice, in which he has lost 53 pounds,
>or more than 25 percent of his body weight.
>Dr. Al-Arian arrived to the visitation room in a wheelchair
>because he is too weak and fragile to walk. His wife and
>youngest children had not seen him in three months. His face
>was sunken in and his clothes were extremely loose-fitting.
>Dr. Al-Arian's ears were in pain and he was pale.
>His wife, Nahla, said: "I was shocked when I saw my husband.
>In spirit, he is the same loving husband and father we know,
>but his physical state has deteriorated rapidly. He is rail
>thin, but thank God his faith remains strong."
>Said his daughter Laila, 25: "When I first saw my father, I
>couldn't believe how weak and thin he had gotten. Throughout
>our visit, he was shivering from low body temperature, and
>his voice was low and weak. He was in some considerable pain
>and discomfort just sitting there with us. He is a fraction
>of his former vibrant, lively and exuberant self. The
>Department of Justice must do the right thing, honor its
>agreement and end our suffering once and for all."
>His eldest son, Abdullah, 26, said: "When I saw my father's
>deteriorating health, I couldn't help but feel that there is
>a concerted effort to keep this tragic situation from
>reaching the American people. We want this to be over but
>that can only happen once enough people speak out about the
>government's continued abuse of power."
>Dr. Al-Arian's family is very concerned about his health,
>and one of the goals of the visit was to convince him to end
>his hunger strike. "He is still determined to continue the
>hunger strike because he feels that he was wronged
>tremendously in this situation," said Nahla Al-Arian.
>"Although we understand and respect his decision to fast for
>justice, we are extremely worried for his life. I will
>return with my children later this week and once again try
>to convince him to end it."
>Hunger Striking
>According to the British Medical Journal, "Conclusions from
>studies recommend independent medical monitoring after a
>weight loss of 10% in lean healthy individuals. Major
>problems arise at a weight loss of about 18%." Dr. Al-Arian
>has already lost 25% of his body weight.
>"The main disabling symptom is feeling faint and dizzy.
>Hunger strikers learn to stand up very slowly and may become
>almost bed bound. Bradycardia and drop in blood pressure are
>well recognised as effects of even relatively short fasting
>and were seen in all the individuals studied closely," the
>journal continued.
>According to the journal, a study of 33 South African
>political prisoners on hunger Strike showed that they lasted
>for 28 days. Gandhi fasted at least 14 times but never for
>more than 21 days. Finally, the hunger strikers of the Maze
>Prison in Belfast in the early 1980s died after 45 to 61
>days. Dr. Al-Arian entered his ninth week on Monday, his
>57th day.

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