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Sami Al-Arian Freed on Bail in Virginia

September 4, 2008 by  


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 by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement . Al-Arian had been held by ICE for 130 days and the legal limit is 90 days.

In July,? federal judge Leonie Brinkema ordered him freed on bail to await trial for a criminal contempt charge for refusing to testify before a a federal grand jury. Al-Arian had completed a 57-month sentence a year ago for helping associates of a Palestinian terrorist organization with nonviolent activities.

But he was never freed from federal custody. Instead, he was held in prison on a civil contempt charge by federal prosecutors in Virginia and then by immigration after his sentence ended. Then, he was charged with criminal contempt.

He is now at the apartment of his oldest daughter Laila, with four of his five children.

“We are delighted and relieved that Dr. Al-Arian is reunited with his family. He looks forward to addressing the remaining charges in court and securing his permanent release,” said Turley.

– Meg Laughlin, Times staff writer

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