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Mehanna Ruling Draws Line Between Speech and Material Support
Arguments that terror prosecutions are criminalizing protected speech took another hit Wednesday, when the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld terror-support convictions against Tarek Mehanna.
Mehanna is serving 17½ years in prison after a Boston jury convicted him in 2011 of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida, conspiracy to commit murder abroad, providing material support to terrorists and lying to federal investigators.
Likening terrorism to a "modern-day equivalent of the bubonic plague," the First Circuit Court of Appeals found jurors had ample grounds to find Mehanna's activities crossed the line into illegal material support. The ruling by Circuit Judge Bruce M. Selya acknowledged a delicate balance between "vital national security concerns and forbidden encroachments on constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and association."
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