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Press Conference for Release of Palestinian Professor on Hunger Strike
Corinne Innis --  Penn Fleming Public Relations Corinne Innis -- Penn Fleming Public Relations
New York , NY
Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dept. of Justice Must Keep its Promise to Release Palestinian Professor on Hunger Strike

Press Conference:Tuesday, April 15, 2008 To Demand the Release of Dr. Sami Al-Arian

Who: The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, Educational and Cultural Center, American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights, and the Council on American Islamic Relations

WHAT: Press Conference to Call for the Release of Hunger Striking Palestinian Professor Sami Al-Arian

WHEN: Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 11 A.M.

WHERE: The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center

3940 Broadway, New York City, N.Y. 10032

212) 568.1341


SARA FLOUNDER,Co-Director, The International Action Center



HEIDI BOGHOSIAN, Executive Director of the National Lawyers' Guild

ALIYA LATIF, Civil Rights Director Council on American-Islamic Relations

LAILA AL-ARIAN, Daughter of Sami Al-Arian

MALAAK SHABAZZ, daughter of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz -- Malcolm X

NEW YORK, NY. - Friday, April 11, is the scheduled release date of Dr. Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian professor on a hunger strike, who has been imprisoned for more than five years. But the Department of Justice, through its continuous abuse of the grand jury system, is threatening to keep him imprisoned for many years.

This Tuesday, April 15, AT 11 A.M., American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections, hosted by the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, Educational Center and Cultural Center, will hold a press conference to demand Dr. Al-Arian's release as promised.

Sami Al-Arian, 50, was a tenured professor of computer engineering at the University of South Florida. He was arrested in February 2003 with much fanfare, and charged in a bloated terrorism conspiracy case. A jury acquitted him of the most serious charges in December 2005. Under a plea agreement reached in 2006, Dr. Al-Arian should have been released last April at the latest. By forcing him to testify, prosecutors are violating that agreement. For more on the case, please visit www.freesaminow.com

Dr. Al-Arian began a hunger strike on March 3 to protest continued government harassment. That day, Dr. Al-Arian was informed that he would be called to testify before a grand jury in Virginia. "The mistreatment of Dr. Al-Arian is part of the overall oppression of the Palestinian people. This is cruel punishment," said Agha Saeed, chairman of the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT). "The government is playing a cat and mouse game with him. They did not decide to do this until the last minute, just as he's about to be released. This amounts to psychological torture"

"Malcolm X stated, "Any person who claims to have deep feelings for other human beings should think a long, long time before he votes to have other men kept behind bars - caged. Behind the bars, a man never reforms- he can't forget those bars" The past decades have been marred by the erosion of civil liberties and the systemic silencing through incarceration, torture, and deportation of non-conformist voices. Unfortunately our brothers and sisters in the Islamic community are the latest victims of such practices. The continued, unwarranted incarceration of Dr. Al-Arian is a violation of his human rights" Dowoti Désir, Executive Director, The Shabazz Center.

If you'd like more information on this topic, please visit www.freesaminow.com , or to schedule an interview with any of the speakers at the press conference, please call 212-568.1341 or email ddesir@theshabazzcenter.org.

About The Shabazz Center at the historic Audubon Ballroom.

Built in 1912, the Audubon Ballroom has been used as a vaudeville house, a movie theater and a meeting hall. When Malcolm X founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) after leaving the Nation of Islam in 1964, he used the space for the group's weekly meetings. The Audubon Ballroom now houses The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, after an extensive renovation by NYC Economic Development Corporation.

The Shabazz Center is a 501 c(3) that honors the lives and legacies of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz by promoting human and civil rights through knowledge of the history and culture of the African Diaspora; education and self-empowerment; family values; and facilitating racial and religious reconciliation.

The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center3940 Broadway (at 165th Street)New York, NY 10032Telephone: (212) 568-1341

Contact: Dowoti Désir,

Executive Director

The Shabazz Center

Corinne Innis
Executive Director
Penn Fleming Public Relations
New York, NY
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