BOSTON/Boston Common - Despite the frigid temperature and a threat of snow, more than 150 people showed up to the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common on Saturday to stand in solidarity with Dr. Tarek Mehanna - who was charged in a complaint with conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda in October 2009 and was convicted and found guilty in US District Court in Boston in December 2011. Several of the supporters who showed up at the Common included members of Mehanna's Sudbury-based family. Speakers - including Rev. Jason Lydon from the Community Church of Boston, local youth who recited poetry of Mehanna's, and representatives of the Tarek Mehanna Support Committee - voiced their concern that the trial had focused on Mehanna’s religious and political beliefs. And that the verdict trampled on Mehanna's First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and expression.
Mehanna's attorneys are currently appealing the conviction, but during the rally the Free Tarek Campaign also engaged in the collection of petition signatures in his support - and asked people to write letters to Carmen Ortiz, US Attorney for Massachusetts, to request lenience at Mehanna's sentencing hearing on April 12 at US District Court at the Moakley Courthouse on Boston's waterfront. Mehanna currently faces a life sentence.
This article is a news brief.