BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A prosecutor has told a jury that a Massachusetts man on trial for terror-related charges “was motivated by and inspired by” the leaders of al-Qaida.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports.

Tarek Mehanna, a 29-year-old American from Sudbury, is accused of traveling to Yemen to try to find a terrorist training camp with the intention of going to Iraq to fight against U.S. soldiers. Prosecutors say that when that failed, Mehanna returned home and began translating and distributing materials online promoting violent jihad.

During closing arguments Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn told the jury there’s no evidence that Mehanna went to Yemen to look for religious schools, as the defense claims.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports

“If (Mehanna) had been successful.. then on this day when people are coming back from Iraq… there would be fewer of them,” said prosecutors.

The defense also says that Mehanna’s online activities were protected by the U.S. Constitution.

In closing arguments, Carney said Mehanna “independently advocated for what he believed in… that when Muslims are attacked they can and should defend themselves.”

“He was apolitical. He rejected Osama bin Laden’s money and he rejected Osama bin Laden,” Defense Attorney J.W. Carney said.

Carney closed by saying “I’m not asking you to accept (Mehanna’s) beliefs… I’m asking you to accept his right to independently advocate them.”

Mehanna’s brother spoke after closing arguments.

“We’re feeling very optimistic. We’re looking forward to hearing what the jury comes back with,” Tamer Mehanna said. “What the prosecution has presented for the past 34 days… has simply been nothing more than scare tactics, words, nothing substantive of anything being done.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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