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Al-Arian Placed in Punitive Detention

Posted by Fredsvenn den april 24, 2008

Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace

April 12, 2008

VIRGINIA– At 1 a.m. on Saturday, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was moved by hostile prison guards from a regular holding cell at the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup, Maryland, to the «Special Housing Unit.» The SHU is an extremely punitive and restrictive section of the prison where inmates are placed in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, usually in freezing temperatures. Prisoners are normally moved there for violating prison rules. However, in the case of Dr. Al-Arian, he has always been placed there without reason or any explanation. In the SHU, prisoners are subjected to continuous, deafening alarm sounds and have little contact with the outside world. With no medical supervision, this is an extremely dangerous place for Dr. Al-Arian to be during his hunger strike, which is on its 41st day. Dr. Al-Arian was also held in solitary confinement for 37 months before and during his trial. This was a deliberate attempt by the government to break him down physically and psychologically and to prevent him from preparing for his trial.

Amnesty International has written several letters decrying the prison conditions of Dr. Al-Arian, calling his treatment «gratuitously punitive» and «inconsistent with international standards for humane treatment.»

The Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace urges all conscientious individuals and organizations to contact the Howard County Detention Center and call for humane treatment of Dr. Al-Arian. We also call on media outlets to cover these abuses, which so far have received no attention.


Call the Howard County Detention Center and ask that Dr. Al-Arian be removed from the Special Housing Unit, where he does not belong, and that the prison ensures he is given proper medical treatment during his hunger strike. The number is (410) 313-5200.


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