Islamist militants guilty of Internet threats permitted to post from prison

Only in America will Islamist militants guilty of threatening violence over the Internet be allowed to post political writings on the Web – while serving time in federal prison.

According to Reuters:

Jesse C. Morton, a convert to Islam who writes under the name Younus Abdullah Muhammed, posted a lengthy tract opposing U.S. drone policy, on May 21, on the website that he launched in 2010.

Morton is serving a prison term of more than 11 years in a Pa. federal prison after pleading guilty in 2012 to conspiring to solicit murder, make threatening communications and “use the Internet to place others in fear.”

Morton is serving time for threatening the writers of the television show “South Park” for their depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in a bear outfit, as reported by Reuters.

And he is not the alone, as fellow militant Zachary Chesser, who was found guilty of conspiring with Morton, is also posting material on the Web.

In 1997, the Supreme Court granted the full protection of the First Amendment to the Internet, extending the same Constitutional protections given to books, magazines, films, and spoken expression to materials published on the Internet.

According to Internet Law attorney Martha L. Arias, inmates’ use of the Internet “varies depending on the correctional facility and the crime for which the inmate was convicted.”

USA Today has previously reported that “state and federal inmates do not have direct access to computers. However, some have used written correspondence with friends and/or family members to set up and maintain websites and e-mail accounts.”

Reuters tells us that officials said they did not know precisely how Morton and Chesser arranged for the posting of their messages.

DOJ spokesman Dean Boyd said: “While we may disagree with some opinions expressed by inmates in their limited communications to approved contacts outside prison, we may not prosecute individuals for speech protected under the First Amendment.”

It is “likely” authorities would move quickly against Morton if is posting material that encourages violence.


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