USA vs Al-Arian


A strong, thought-provoking, critically acclaimed and award-winning documentary on freedom of speech and political persecution.

“A passionate activist and pro-Palestinian, professor Sami Al-Arian was charged with terrorism and held in prison without trial for two and a half years.

USA vs Al-Arian is an intimate family portrait that documents the strain brought on by Al-Arian’s trial, a battled waged both in court and in media. A tight-knit family unravels before our very eyes as trial preparations, strategy and spin consume their lives. This is a nightmare come to life, as a man is prosecuted for his beliefs rather than his actions.

Director Line Halvorsen presents democracy in a new light in a post-9/11 culture of fear, “security measures” trump free speech and punishment is meted out in the name of protection.



Line Halvorsen

Jan Dalchow, Dalchows Verden

Line Halvorsen and Trond Winterkjær

Original Music:
Stein Berge Svendsen

Written by:
Line Halvorsen

Tone Andersen


Sami Al-Arian
George W. Bush
Leenaand Al-Arian
Lama Al-Arian
Ali Al-Arian
Laila Al-Arian
Abduallah Al-Arian
Nahla Al-Arian

Production details

Original title
USA mot Al-Arian

2007, 2009

Feature Film: 98 min, TV-version: 58 min

English with some Arabic

English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Arabic

HDcam, Betacam, 35mm, DVD

Production company
Dalchows Verden

Production country

Norwegian distribution: Kudos Family. Festival distribution: The Norwegian Film Institute.


Awards & Festivals


2007 Nordisk Panorama – 5 Cities Film Festival: Best Nordic Documentary

2007 Intl Festival of Muslim Cinema “Golden Minbar”, Russia: Honorary Mention

2007 Norwegian Documentary Film Festival Volda: Grand Prix (Flugeprisen)

2007 New Orleans Human Rights Film Festival, USA: Best Film

2007 Tromsø International Film Festival: Audience Award



2008 Melbourne Human Rights Art&Film Festival, Australia

2008 Toronto Palestine Film Festival, Canada

2008 Nordox, Beijing

2008 Reykjavik Short & Docs, Iceland

2008 Human Rights Watch Int. Film Festival, New York, USA

2008 Tekfestival, Rome, Italy

2008 Chicago Palestine Film Festival, USA

2008 Al Jazeera Int’l Documentary Film Festival, Qatar

2008 Belfast Film Festival, Ireland

2008 Amnesty Int’l Film Festival, The Netherlands

2008 Tempo Documentary Festival, Sweden

2008 Middle East Film Festival, Olympia, USA

2008 DocsBarcelona, Spain

2007 Dubai Int. Film Festival, United Arab Emirates

2007 Festival del Popoli, Firenze, Italia

2007 CPH.DOX, København, Denmark

2007 Festival of Liberties, Brüssel, Belgium

2007 Arab Film Festival – Los Angeles

2007 Femmina Int. Filmfestival, Verdal

2007 United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford, USA

2007 Århus Film Festival, Denmark

2007 Arab Film Festival – San Francisco

2007 Document 5- International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Scotland

2007 Cinema Vèritè, Iran Int’l Documentary Festival, Theran

2007 Cinemambiente, Torino, Italy

2007 DOCNZ. New Zealand

2007 Boston Palestine Film Festival, USA

2007 Vivisect Human Rights festval, Novi Sad, Serbia

2007 Nordisk Panorama, Oulu, Finland

2007 Human Rights Film Festival Novi Sad, Serbia

2007 Intl Festival of Muslim Cinema “Golden Minbar”, Russia

2007 LabourFest, San Francisco

2007 Norwegian Short Film Festival Grimstad

2007 HotDocs, Toronto, Canada

2007 Norwegian Documentary Film Festival Volda

2007 New Orleans Human Rights Film Festival, USA

2007 Tromsø International Film Festival, Norway



SamiAl-Arian with Guards

Director Line Halvorsen and Sami Al-Arian in Orient Road Jail
Credit: Matt Mayes, Dalchows Verden


Demonstration outside the jail
Credit: Dalchows Verden

Graphic from court
Credit Gro Vik, Dalchows Verden

Nahla Al-Arian meeting the press
Credit Dalchows Verden

Nahla Al-Arian talking to her mother
Credit Dalchows Verden

Nahla Al-Arian
Credit Dalchows Verden

Sami Al-Arian in Orient Road Jail
Credit Dalchows Verden

Sami and Nahla Al-Arian
Credit: Bud Lee

Al-Arian family with George W. Bush
Slug: St/Alarian Deadline: 7/23/02 Contact: Dr. Al-Arian. Cell phone is 813-300-9393. We have permission to use. caption: Sami Al-Arian, holding daughter Lama, 6, center, with son Abdullah, 19, left, daughter Laila, 18, foreground left, daughter Leena, 14, center, wife Nahla, center right, and son Ali, 9, foreground left, pose for a photo with presidential candidate George W. Bush and wife Laura in this March 12, 2000 family photo in Plant City, Fla. Others, extreme right, are unidentified. (AP Photo/Sami Al-Arian) ORG XMIT: FLSM101

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