Australian Muslim Activists Were Writing Hate Mail to Dead Soldier's Families
Should two Australian Muslim activists go to jail for writing letters?
An Australian court yesterday rejected a case of two Muslim activists who claimed they had a right to send "offensive letters" to families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. The letters in question apparently criticized Australia's involvement in the war and condemned the fallen soldiers.
According to the AP, Australia doesn't have an equivalent to the First Amendment, which may have protected such letters on the grounds that they were political speech, but Australian courts have held for decades that the country's "constitution contains an implied right to free speech because such political communication is essential to democracy."
Australia does have a law about using the postal service "to communicate a message that 'reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive.'"
Still, as offensive as these letters undoubtedly are, should Australia really punish the senders? The two men face a maximum of 26 and 16 years in prison, respectively.