The Australian government has rejected the case of two Muslim activists who argued that they possess the constitutional freedom of speech right to send offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Man Horan Monis, an Iranian-born Sydney-based cleric who is also known as Sheikh Haron was charged with 12 counts of using the postal service to deliver offensive messages and one count for using it in a harassing way over three years until 2009. Amirah Droudis was charged over aiding the offences.
Monis had written several offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and blamed the Australian foreign policy for the terrorist bomb blast in Jakarta, Indonesia. His lawyer, David Bennett, argued that the letters were ‘purely political’ and that the charges made on himwere not justified because they infringed free-speech rights.
There has been a long confusion between free-speech and hate speech. People fail to understand that when they tend to offend someone with their speech, spoken or written, they are actually hurting the sentiments of the other party and lowering the levels of their personal (unnecessary) wrath. It’s like shifting your own burden on the shoulders of someone else.
Monis and Droudis face potential maximum prison sentences of 26 and 16 years respectively if convicted.