Thursday, October 22, 2009

Free Tarek Mehanna!

Tarek Mehanna, of Sudbury, MA, was recently arrested by the FBI in connection with alleged terrorist plots.  This is not the first time he has been harrassed by the FBI (Mehanna was arrested in 2008 and later released due to lack of real evidence).  Mehanna is a devout Muslim and a highly respected figure in his community (disparaging accusations otherwise from the Boston Globe and Herald notwithstanding).

Below is a message from his family as posted on the Support Tarek Mehanna Facebook group, as well as more information about his situation.



Welcome to the Support Tarek Mehanna Official Facebook Group, and thank you so much for joining. InshaAllah (God willing), your continuing, unwavering support will help in the effort to bring Tariq home safely as quickly as can be arranged. This section is here to offer a forum for thoughts and ideas on on new ways to help Tariq, as well as to share memories and recollections of his noble qualities and characteristics.

Please, we only ask that you keep your language and posts respectful and peaceful. Remember, this group is intended to help reconcile misconceptions, not to foster new ones. Thank you all in advance for your support, kindness, and attention, and may truth and justice guide Tariq's case to a swift and positive resolution.

-Tamer, Souad, and Ahmed Mehanna

Join the Facebook goup here

Please sign petition here

Visit the Free Tarek Official Website

 
Background:

Tarek Mehanna is a 27 year old Muslim Egyptian American born and raised in the United States. Highly educated, Tarek holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. He is a devout and tolerant Muslim who is not only respected in the local Islamic and interfaith communities, but who also gives back to his Islamic community by fulfilling the roles of brother, educator, mentor, scholar, and friend.

Tarek is described by those who know him well as humble, reserved, warm, peaceful, intelligent, knowledgeable, reflective, pragmatic, dedicated, and straightforward. He is a person with strong ethical values who refuses to compromise on them regardless of the circumstances. It is unfortunate then that this customarily admirable trait plays a role in his current situation.

Several years ago, the Boston FBI began to approach Tarek. They recognized that he was a religious Muslim who was active in the local Islamic community, had earned the respect of many, and was beloved to the youth. The FBI recognized in Tarek an individual who is intelligent, charismatic, influential and trusted by many in the local Islamic community.

They decided that they wanted Tarek on their side, and began to approach him in an effort to recruit him as an informant. Their objective was to secure Tarek as a tool to corroborate any FBI claims or accusations against members of the community that might arise, at the discretion of the FBI. Of course, Tarek flat out refused to backstab his fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, a decision that did not sit well at all with the FBI.

The FBI then proceeded to repeatedly approach Tariek over the coming months, each time pressuring him more and more to collaborate with them. This pressure most often came in the form of blackmail; Tariek was told that unless he consented to cooperating with the FBI, they would continue finding new ways to disrupt his life and to deprive him of a sense of security. He was told outright by interrogators that they knew he was innocent, but that they would not be satisfied with his refusal to cooperate.

Regardless of whether their methods were unethical, coercive, or failed to respect his civil rights, the FBI were quite fortunate in catching an opportunity to arrest Tariek in 2008 based on a weak accusation of issuing "false statements" to a federal officer. After two months of imprisonment, his court-appointed attorney, Jay Carney, jr., was able to negotiate a bail settlement of $1,250,000. Tariek was subsequently released after this absurdly inflated amount was paid by his parents, who were desperate to have him return home safely.

Tariek did return home for nearly a year, living a quiet life, restricted by a court-ordered curfew, and monitored by FBI investigators. In the meantime, the case against him, based on "false testimony" charges, began to stagnate, and court dates were far and in between with no advances made by the FBI. Over time, the Mehanna family began to finally feel a sense of restored normalcy and stability in their lives.

This feeling was suddenly and violently shattered during the far hours of September 21st, 2009, when FBI agents showed up at the Mehanna home doorstep at 5:00AM in the morning. Despite the lack of ANY new evidence since the prior arrest, the agents came with an arrest warrant. According to Dr. Ahmed Mehanna, Tarek's father, the agents were visibly excited and enthusiastic about their invasion of the Mehanna private household and the seizure and arrest of Tarek.

The situation facing Tarek now is one where his second arrest means that there is no chance for bail. Tarek is currently incarcerated at the Plymouth Correctional Facility, where he is expected to remain for the several year duration of a new trial based on outright FALSE AND LUDICROUS accusations of aiding and abetting terrorism. He currently faces LIFE IN PRISON if convicted guilty in a trial by grand jury. We must offer our greatest support and most dedicated effort if there is to be hope of Tarek's release.

Thank you for taking the time to read this history, and we are confident that you will share our knowledge of Tarek's innocence. In addition, it is our sincere hope that the United States justice system remain true to its "innocent until proven guilty" origins, and for Tarek to receive a fair and just trial.