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    Mehanna conviction stirs outcry on rights

    Critics contend evidence lacking

    To many civil libertarians, the conviction of Tarek Mehanna for aiding Al Qaeda dangerously undermined free speech rights and delivered a stark message that holding radical ideas can be punished under the guise of national security.

    To terrorism specialists, the jury’s swift guilty verdict validated the government’s efforts to prosecute domestic terror suspects and sharpened the line between protected speech and active support for terrorism.

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