Tarek Mehanna: Free speech at issue in alleged terrorist’s trial

Supporters of Tarek Mehanna wore yellow scarves outside the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse in solidarity with Mehanna who is is standing trial for allegedly providing support to terrorist organizations.

It didn’t take long for federal prosecutors to attempt to link accused terrorist Tarek Mehanna to one of the world’s most famous terrorism leaders.

Prosecutor Aloke Chakravarty used Osama bin Laden’s name in the first sentence of his opening statement during Mehanna’s trial Thursday.

“About 10 years ago, Osama bin Laden issued a call to arms,” he said. “This trial is about how this man answered that call.”

Mehanna, 29, of Sudbury, is charged with providing material support to terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda.

Prosecutors accused Mehanna of traveling to Yemen to attempt to enter a terrorist training camp, but he failed to do so. Instead, he returned home and translated terrorist propaganda in to English to spread a message of jihad, prosecutors said.

“He viewed himself as part of the media department for al-Qaeda,” Chakravarty said.

In e-mails intercepted by federal agents, officials said he often talked about his discontent for America and used code words like “making peanut butter and jelly” in place of jihad.

But Mehanna’s defense attorney, J.W. Carney, Jr., said the young man was viewed as a “scholar” who kept scores of books on Islam in his bedroom.

Carney said Mehanna’s expressions of frustration about America’s war in Iraq is not illegal.

Mehanna draws support

About three dozen supporters filed out of packed courtrooms Thursday after watching the opening statements for Mehanna’s trial.

They held signs that said “Free Tarek” and wore yellow scarves to show their support for him. They were not allowed to wear the scarves inside the courtroom.

Jason Lydon, a Mehanna supporter from the Community Church of Boston, called the trial a result of “Islamophobic charges.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Music

The Handsome Family on 'True Detective' Emmy and…

When asked to describe The Handsome Family’s latest album, Rennie Sparks channels Rust Cohle of “True Detective.” “A strange problem that humans have is that…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.