Sami Al-Arian reportedly walked out of a jail cell Tuesday for the first time since February 2003 after the Department of Homeland Security decided not to contest his attorneys' latest efforts to secure his freedom.
Al-Arian faces two counts of criminal contempt in an indictment issued in June for his refusal to testify before a federal grand jury investigating terror financing by a Virginia think tank. His trial, originally scheduled for Aug. 13, was postponed indefinitely by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, pending the outcome of an appeal submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Al-Arian argues that his 2006 guilty plea to conspiring to provide goods and services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) ruled out any "cooperation" with federal prosecutors. Prosecutors argue a grand jury subpoena is compelled testimony, not voluntary, and that there is no language in the plea agreement concerning cooperation or any promises not to seek any.