US & Canada

US man found guilty of aiding al-Qaeda

Tarek Mehanna, pictured in February 2009
Image caption Tarek Mehanna now faces life in prison

A jury in the US state of Massachusetts has convicted a man of conspiring to support al-Qaeda and providing material support to terrorists.

Tarek Mehanna, a US national, was found guilty on all seven counts against him.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Mehanna had travelled to Yemen to receive training at a militant camp to fight US soldiers in Iraq.

Lawyers for the 29 year old, who was arrested in 2009, said he was merely an aspiring scholar of Islam.

However, the federal jury found Mehanna guilty of four terrorism-related charges and three charges of lying to authorities.

Prosecutors said Mehanna, from the Boston suburb of Sudbury, and two friends had conspired to go to Yemen for terrorist training.

After failing to find a training camp, the prosecutors said, the three men returned home. Mehanna allegedly started translating materials promoting holy war and distributing them online.

Mehanna's lawyers said their client was a scholar, who had aspired to study Islamic law and translate classical texts.

The translation and distribution of the materials was free speech protected by the First Amendment to the US constitution, they argued.

Mehanna is expected to be sentenced in April, and could be sent to prison for the rest of his life.

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