A federal magistrate judge has denied a request for release on bail from a Sudbury man accused of plotting terrorist acts, saying that there was a risk he would flee and that he posed a danger to the community.
Tarek Mehanna has "demonstrated his ongoing support of terrorism both by his own recorded statements and by investing his time and effort in promoting terrorism. No condition or combination of conditions mitigates the serious risk of danger Mehanna poses," US Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin said in an order issued today.
Prosecutors allege that Mehanna, 27, and a second man, Ahmad Abousamra, 28, formerly of Mansfield, tried to join a terrorist training camp overseas, but were rejected, then plotted to shoot shoppers at a suburban mall, but scrapped the plan because they could not get automatic weapons. They are also accused of plotting to kill two unidentified government officials. Mehanna also allegedly incited violence by translating pro-jihad materials from Arabic to English and posting them on the Web.
Mehanna, who has been in custody since his arrest on Oct. 21, has pleaded not guilty to charges of providing and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, and making false statements to law enforcement. Abousamra is believed to be in Syria, according to court filings.
Boston attorney J.W. Carney Jr., who represents Mehanna, said, "I am disappointed in the decision, but we are not discouraged in our defense of Tarek. We look forward to a trial where the jurors can base their decision on all of the evidence, and not just on excerpts selected by the prosecutors."
The magistrate judge did note that a number of people spoke in support of Mehanna.
"They describe him as kind, religious, and gentle in his behavior and dedicated to his community. They describe Mehanna's parents and family in similar or even more glowing terms. The Court credits this evidence. However, the Court has before it evidence that there is another side to Mehanna," Sorokin said.
"This evidence ... shows Mehanna promoted terrorist activities, encouraged others to engage in terrorism, recruited others to participate in terrorism, and protected, or attempted to protect, a terrorist from law enforcement scrutiny," Sorokin said.
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