Sydney siege suspect once sent hate letters to families of dead soldiers

Islamic preacher Man Haron Monis sent offensive letters to widows and parents of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Picture: Ross Schultz Source: The Australian

The suspect killed in the hostage-taking at a café in Sydney, Australia has been identified as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee and self-styled sheik who once sent hate letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers.

Monis, 50, pleaded guilty in August 2013 to 12 counts of using the Australian postal service in a menacing, harassing or offensive way. His partner, a woman named Amirah Droudis, also pleaded guilty to identical charges. Monis was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and released on a good behaviour bond.

Monis and Droudis sent letters to the families of Australian soldiers within days of their deaths between 2007 and 2009. The letters reportedly told families that their dead loved ones were child-murderers, and that they were going to hell.

Monis fought the letter-writing charges for years through a number of high court challenges and appeals. He also occasionally appeared at the courthouse wearing chains, and once chained himself to a railing and waved a tiny Australian flag, according to reports…

For a report written at the time, see Justices split on gender lines over tenor of cleric’s letters March 15, 2013: The three male justices decided that the Constitution’s implied freedom of political communication prevented the commonwealth parliament from making it a crime to send highly offensive material through the post.

The three female justices determined that the parliament could legislate to prevent highly offensive material being communicated in that way.

The case in question was Monis v The Queen, which was decided on February 27. Man Haron Monis is an Islamic preacher. He sent a series of letters to the widows and parents of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan…