First amendment expert to analyze Al-Arian’s case

Georgetown law professor David Cole will lend his two cents concerning the situation surrounding controversial USF professor Sami Al-Arian.

Cole will speak tonight about terrorism and how it affects the nation’s civil liberties at 6 in room 111 of the Chemistry Building.

Cole, an expert in constitutional law, criminal procedures and federal courts, is also the legal affairs correspondent for Internet news Web site, The Nation, and a commentator on National Public Radio. Cole is also a staff attorney for the Center of Constitutional Rights where he has litigated many First Amendment cases.

In the past, Cole has represented former USF adjunct professor Mazen Al-Najjar and USF professor Sami Al-Arian.

Cole will touch on Al-Najjar, who was arrested in November 2001 by the International Naturalization Service for an immigration violation, relating to his order of final deportation in 1996. Cole will also discuss the Al-Arian case, in addition to other legal cases that have arisen since Sept. 11.

Bisher Tarabishy, president for the Muslim Student Association, said the Sept. 11 attacks have complicated the issue of freedom greatly.

“Our civil liberties have taken a beating since the war on terrorism, and the terrorism issue is being used to curtail our civil liberties,” Tarabishy said.

Tarabishy said the Patriot Act is infringing upon individual liberties. The United States Patriot Act significantly boosted the government’s law enforcement powers while cutting the checks and balances system that Americans rely on to protect their individual liberty.

“The Patriot Act, which was passed after Sept. 11, wasn’t even debated before the attacks. The Patriot Act gives the government broad sweeping powers to curb the freedom of our society, and has affected the civil liberties of Arabs and Muslims,” Tarabishy said. “Since the attacks, there is a blind association between terrorists and Muslims and Arabs. What used to be innocent until proven guilty is now guilty until proven innocent, especially if you are Muslim or Arab.”

Cole will discuss his book Terrorism & The Constitution, Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security, which was originally published in 1996, and has been updated since Sept. 11.

Cole has used his experience in First Amendment cases to write another book called No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System.

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