'Irvine 11': Mother of student taught him to 'express your mind'
Lina Akari, 45, of Murrieta, said she trusted the United States' court system and raised her son to relish the right to free speech.
"I taught him that you can express your mind," she said. "I don't understand what happened.
"I said here you can have freedom of speech," she continued. "And look what happened."
The students were found guilty of two misdemeanors to conspire and then disrupt a February 2010 speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States at the UC Irvine campus.
Prosecutors argued that Ambassador Michael Oren was “shut down” when his speech was interrupted by students who took turns shouting preplanned phrases in a crowded UC Irvine ballroom.
Six defense attorneys argued that the students, seven from UC Irvine and three from UC Riverside, were only following the norm of other college protests and were being singled out.
-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Santa Ana
Photo: Some of the defendants in the so-called Irvine 11 case in court on Monday. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press