Civil rights activist Al-Arian released

On Sept. 2 in Alexandria, Va., former Florida professor and civil rights activist Sami Al-Arian was finally released on bail after spending five-and-a-half years in jail. Al-Arian had been transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody on April 11 of this year, then transferred back to US Marshals custody on June 30 after being charged with criminal contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury. After US District Judge Leonie Brinkema ordered Al-Arian’s release on bail on July 10, the government transferred him back to ICE custody, claiming it was attempting to deport him. Brinkema reaffirmed the bail order on Aug. 8 as she postponed the criminal contempt trial, pending a Supreme Court ruling on Al-Arian’s appeal challenging the government’s right to compel him to testify. On Aug. 25, Al-Arian’s attorneys filed a habeas petition demanding his release; Brinkema gave ICE until Sept. 2 to respond. The agency’s response came in the form of an order for Al-Arian’s release on bail. Al-Arian’s family met him as he was released from an ICE facility in Fairfax, Va. He remains under house arrest. (Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace, Sept. 2; Tampa Tribune, Sept. 1)

From Immigration News Briefs, Sept. 7

See our last posts on Sami Al-Arian and the politics of immigration.