A Massachusetts man convicted of conspiring to help Al-Qaeda was sentenced Thursday to 17 1/2 years in prison after giving an impassioned speech in which he declared his love for Islam and said, 'This is not terrorism; it's self-defense.'
Tarek Mehanna, 29, an American who grew up in the wealthy Boston suburb of Sudbury, was found guilty in December of traveling to Yemen to seek training in a terrorist camp with the intention of going on to Iraq to fight U.S. soldiers there.
Prosecutors said that when that plan failed, Mehanna returned to the United States and began translating and disseminating materials online promoting violent jihad.
'In your eyes I'm a terrorist. I'm the only one standing here in an orange jumpsuit,' Mehanna said in U.S. District Court in Boston.
He later added: 'America will change and recognize this trial for what it is.'
Mehanna was sentenced on four terror-related charges and three counts of lying to authorities.
His family and supporters gave him a standing ovation and called out 'we love you' as he was led from the courtroom. Read More