Sudbury man sentenced to 17.5 years
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Supporters chanted outside the courthouse after convicted terrorist Tarek Mehanna was handed a 17 and a half year sentence that brought his mother to tears.
“I am just so sad. I miss him so much. My son is innocent, everything he said today was the truth,” said Souad Mehanna, Tarek’s mother.
His truth came in a speech to the judge in which he called the prosecutor a liar, told him to sit down, then compared himself to Paul Revere, Nelson Mandela and others fighting oppression.
When asked if she thought his speech hurt him his mother said no.
“He doesn’t care and I don’t care either, I am so proud of him, I am so proud of him, this is my son,” said Souad Mehanna.
Operating out of his Sudbury home, Mehanna was tried and convicted of supporting Al Qaeda and inspiring others to follow. The US attorney said Mehanna is now paying the price.
“He took action, action which consisted of conspiring with his own cohorts to go to Yemen for the purpose of getting trained to commit violence, to commit war against American soldiers,” said Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney.
During sentencing the judge told Mehanna some of his characteristics were noble and praiseworthy but was concerned by his apparent absence of remorse. Mehanna’s father said the judge sided with the government.
“What do you think of that degrading of the justice system, it is degrading. I don’t think he deserves even to be one day in prison,” said Ahmed Mehanna, Tarek’s father.
Mehanna’s attorney said the Sudbury man was simply exercising his right to free speech and never committed a violent act. Although the US Attorney said the verdict against him showed what a danger he was, Mehanna’s family said they would keep fighting until he was free.
“We love him so much, we’re going to be behind him, this is not over. We’re going to do the appeal and he will be out,” said Souad Mehanna.
Tarek Mehanna’s defense attorney said he felt the judge was fair and that at least his client would be getting out of prison when he is a comparatively young man.
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