A question for the several disgruntled HA subjects and their attorneys who have threatened me with defamation suits over the past year alone… is this the sort of shameless, disregard for free speech you’d prefer become the norm here in the United States?
Italian authorities have served the parents of Amanda Knox with legal papers notifying them they are under investigation for defamation, an accusation related to their allegations that police brutalized their daughter.
Still jetlagged from their long trip from Seattle, Edda Mellas and Curt Knox were served the papers Friday evening by Italian Caribinieri police officers while at the law offices of their Perugian lawyer, Luciano Ghirga. Both are in Perugia to hear closing arguments in their daughter’s murder trial, which is expected to conclude next week with a jury decision on whether Amanda Knox had a role in the November 2007 slaying of her roommate, Meredith Kercher.
The developments came as a surprise to the family.
“It’s ridiculous,” Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas told the seattlepi.com.
“And the timing is very curious,” added Curt Knox. “With this coming five days before a high-profile case is going to come to a close, for an article written 18 months ago.”
I haven’t really followed the Knox drama, and I have no opinion one way or another as to her guilt or innocence. But this defamation investigation is harassment, pure and simple, and a vindictive, anti-democratic effort to crush dissent. The prosecutors have the full weight and resources of the state behind their efforts to convict Knox, and now they’re threatening her parents for daring to criticize their actions? That’s the sort of overreaching exercise of state power that most Americans rightly find repugnant.
Fortunately, here in the U.S., we not only enjoy the protections of the First Amendment, but also perhaps the most restrictive defamation laws in the world. One can still harass critics by threatening to bring suit, and in fact, one can still harass critics by bringing suit, however unfounded. But the kind of free speech the Knox’s exercised (and the kind of free speech I exercise here on HA) is exceedingly difficult to prosecute.
Ain’t it great to be an American?