WASHINGTON—Sami Amin Al-Arian has been sentenced to 57 months in prison for conspiring to violate a federal law that prohibits making or receiving contributions of funds, goods or services to, or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a Specially Designated Terrorist, the Department of Justice announced today.
The 57-month prison sentence and three years of supervised release were imposed at a hearing today in the Middle District of Florida before U.S. District Court Judge James Moody. The Court also entered a stipulated order of removal, whereby Al-Arian will be deported from the United States upon conclusion of service of his term of imprisonment.
Al-Arian was arrested in Tampa, Fla., in February 2003 on a 17-count indictment, and has been in custody since his arrest. Trial commenced before Judge Moody on June 6, 2005 and concluded on Nov. 14, 2005. The jury failed to reach a verdict against Al-Arian on nine counts and acquitted him of eight counts. On April 14, 2006, Al-Arian pleaded guilty to Count 4 of the superseding indictment. In exchange for his guilty plea, the government agreed to drop the remaining counts against him.
In his guilty plea, Al-Arian admitted that, during the period of the late 1980’s and early to mid-1990’s, he and several of his co-conspirators were associated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He further admitted that he performed various services for the PIJ in 1995 and thereafter, knowing that the PIJ had been designated as a Specially Designated Terrorist and that the PIJ engaged in horrific and deadly acts of violence. Such services included filing for immigration benefits for individuals associated with the PIJ, hiding the identities of individuals associated with the PIJ, and providing assistance for an individual associated with the PIJ in a U.S. court proceeding. At sentencing today, Judge Moody called Al-Arian a “master manipulator” and a “leader of the PIJ.”
This case was prosecuted by Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Zitek and Assistant U.S. Attorney Walter Furr of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, and Trial Attorneys Cherie Krigsman and Alexis Collins of the Counterterrorism Section of the Criminal Division. The investigation was conducted by a task force led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service and state and local law enforcement officials, among others.