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Mehanna Guilty Verdict Fuels Debate Over Terror Trials

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn giving his closing arguments in the trial of Tarek Mehenna. Behind him are Jay Carney, Janice Bassil and Mehanna. Their two aides are front right. (Margaret Small)

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn giving his closing arguments in the trial of Tarek Mehenna. Behind him are Jay Carney, Janice Bassil and Mehanna. Their two aides are front right. (Margaret Small)

A major verdict in a potentially precedent-setting federal terrorism case was handed down Tuesday, as a jury found Tarek Mehanna, an American-born man from Sudbury, Mass., guilty on all counts, including conspiring to provide material support al-Qaida, lying to FBI agents, and conspiring to kill in a foreign country.

Federal prosecutors argued that Mehanna traveled to Yemen in 2004 to seek terrorism training. He never got that training, and instead turned to translating Al-Qaeda texts, which he posted on the internet.

“I feel like this is all just a bigger part of promoting Islamaphobia in this country, and it’s ridiculous. I cant feel safe being an American Muslim anymore,” said Omar Abdelkader, a friend of Mehanna, just after the jury announced its verdict.

We’ll get more from WBUR’s senior reporter, David Boeri, who was at the courthouse. Then we’ll ask two experts about the legal takeaways from the case.

Guests:

  • David Boeri, senior reporter, WBUR
  • Harvey Silverglate, criminal defense and civil liberties litigator and author of “Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.”
  • Glenn Sulmasy, professor of law at the US Coast Guard Academy and author of “The National Security Court System: A Natural Evolution of Justice in an Age of Terror.”

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