U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Va., ordered Al-Arian transferred out of the custody of immigration authorities and into the custody of U.S. Marshals.
Al-Arian's attorney, Jonathan Turley, wrote on his blog that the court where Al-Arian is being prosecuted "is called the 'Rocket Docket' because it prides itself on moving these cases at a breakneck pace."Al-Arian was prosecuted in Tampa on terrorism-related charges alleging he was a lead U.S. fundraiser for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.
During the Tampa trial, the government presented evidence that Al-Arian's think tank, World and Islam Studies Enterprise, received funding from the International Institute of Islamic Thought, based in Herndon, Va. The institute's offices were raided in 2002 as part of the investigation into World and Islam Studies Enterprise. Stetson Law School professor Charles Rose said criminal contempt charges such as these are rare.
"I just can't imagine that this is still around," Charles Rose said. "You almost never see a charge of criminal contempt, historically, unless you're dealing with organized crime. They're treating Sami Al-Arian like he is a member of a criminal organization.