UC Muslims Appealing Free-Speech Conviction
They got fines, community service for disrupting speech by Israeli ambassador
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 20, 2011 3:00 AM CDT
Mohamed Abdelgany, Khalid Akari and Taher Herzallah are three of ten UC Muslim students who were convicted of disrupting a speech by the Israeli ambassador presented on a UC campus.   (AP Photo/Orange County Register, Paul Bersebach)

(Newser) – Ten Muslim students are appealing a conviction for disrupting a speech by an Israeli ambassador presented at a Unversity of California campus. The controversial case is seen as a test of the right to dissent. The students last year shouted out preplanned phrases to interfere with the ambassdor's speech on the Irvine campus about US-Israeli relations. The men were convicted last month of "willfully" disrupting the talk, and were sentenced to comunity servicie, fines, and probation. An attorney for the students said the law used to convict them makes protest illegal. “When we censor free speech we are taking away one of the fundamental issues that has made our democracy, not survive, but thrive,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

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