BOSTON (Reuters) - A judge denied bail on Friday to a Massachusetts teenager who was arrested on terrorism charges after posting lyrics on his Facebook page suggesting he could do worse than the Boston Marathon bombers.
Cameron D‘Ambrosio, an 18-year-old aspiring rapper from Methuen, about 30 miles north of Boston, was arrested on May 1 after he posted a note on his Facebook page that included the words “a boston bombinb wait till u see the shit I do.”
D‘Ambrosio was charged with “communicating terrorist threats” and faces as many as 20 years in prison if he is convicted.
D‘Ambrosio’s lawyer and his family members argued at a bail review hearing this week that the teenager, who has also posted several expletive-laden rap videos online, posed no immediate threat and should be granted bail.
A judge at the Massachusetts Superior Court denied the request.
The case has triggered a viral online campaign by activists who say D‘Ambrosio’s free speech rights have been trampled by a government that may be overreaching after April 15 Boston Marathon bombings.
Three people died and 264 were wounded in those attacks, which investigators said were the work of two brothers of Chechen descent.
Some U.S. lawmakers have criticized the FBI’s handling of the case, given that the older of the brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had been on a U.S. master list of potential terrorism suspects.
Prosecutors have not accused D‘Ambrosio of any involvement in the bombing.
Evan Greer, a campaign manager for Center for Rights in Boston, criticized Friday’s ruling.
“We are very disappointed at the judge’s decision to continue the imprisonment of a teenager despite there being no evidence that he is a threat to anyone,” he said.
“Cam is facing a greater sentence than if he had actually assaulted someone,” he said, referring to a court’s original decision to hold D‘Ambrosio for up to 90 days.
The Center for Rights and Fight for the Future set up an online petition on May 20 that has so far accumulated more than 70,000 signatures calling for D‘Ambrosio’s release.
Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Scott Malone and David Brunnstrom