BOSTON, Massachusetts — A US District judge sentenced a Boston man to 17.5 years in federal prison Thursday on charges of plotting to kill Americans by joining militants in Yemen and spreading Al-Qaeda publicity.
US District Judge George O’Toole delivered his sentence to Tarek Mehanna, 29, after a two-hour hearing. The prison sentence is to be followed by seven years of supervised release.
Suggesting he belonged to the ranks of great historical leaders who fought against oppression, Mehanna told O’Toole he refused to be an informant. He addressed the judge for about 20 minutes with a polished delivery.
“I stand before you in this courtroom as a very proud Muslim,” he said, defiantly.
His father Ahmed, who emigrated to the United States from Egypt in 1980, said he had lost his trust in the US judicial system.
“Then I was full of confidence in the judicial system,” he said. “Now, my confidence is degraded with witnessing the proceedings of my son’s life.”
The younger Mehanna’s court-appointed attorney J.W. Carney claimed the trial was “all political.”
A Boston jury in December found Mehanna guilty on five terrorism-related charges and three others related to lying to FBI and other federal officials. During the eight-week trial, the jury heard how Mehanna and his co-conspirators planned to join violent extremist groups and fight against US interests.
He traveled to Yemen in 2004 to seek training to fight in Iraq, but then returned to the United States where he began to translate and spread Al-Qaeda recruitment postings and videos on the Internet, according to prosecutors.
He lied about the trip when questioned by US authorities in 2006, prosecutors said.
Mehanna’s lawyers have argued that he never sought to join any armed group and that his Internet activities were protected by US free speech guarantees.
His co-conspirators were named as Ahmad Abousamra and Daniel Joseph Maldonado, aka Daniel Aljughaifi. Another alleged co-conspirator was not identified.
Maldonado pleaded guilty in US District Court in 2007 to traveling from Houston, Texas to Africa in November 2005 and then to Somalia in December 2006 to join Al-Qaeda and other militants to fight the Somali government, the Justice Department said in a statement.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the maximum statutory penalty for receiving military training from a terror group.
In extreme crises, conservatism can turn to fascism. Here’s how that might play out
5 movie "Back to the Future," Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels in a time machine from the 1980s to the 1950s. When he tells people of the '50s he is from the '80s, he is met with skepticism.
1950s person: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?
This article first appeared at Salon.com.Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.
1950s person: Ronald Reagan? The actor? [chuckles in disbelief] Then who's vice president? Jerry Lewis [comedian]?
Who are the young people behind the Catalonia protest violence?
The violent protests that have swept Catalonia over the jailing of nine separatist leaders have involved veteran anarchists and youthful troublemakers as well as outraged separatists, some of whom became radicalised only recently.
"I am 24, have a masters and a job and I never imagined myself setting fire to a barricade with my face masked," said one protester who gave her name only as Aida.
She has joined in protests every day since they erupted in the region after Spain's Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to up to 13 years in jail for sedition over a failed 2017 independence bid.
Body language expert dissects the power dynamic at play in the iconic Nancy Pelosi photo
Last week, President Donald Trump met with Democrats at the White House to discuss the way both sides could work to fix the President's mistakes in Syria. Democrats left the White House saying that the President had another meltdown during the meeting, which prompted Trump to claim Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the one who had a meltdown. He then posted photos of Pelosi sitting quietly and another photo of Pelosi standing and pointing at him.
Body language expert Dr. Jack Brown posted the photo and gave his own analysis of what he believed was happening in the photo.
"When a person has little or no empathy — and/or when they're far from their emotional baseline, their ability to interpret how others will view an event becomes dramatically distorted," Brown explained Sunday. "Rarely has this behavioral axiom been better exemplified than last Wednesday at the White House."