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British man is sentenced to nearly 2 years in jail for what he said on Facebook

A British man was sentenced to nearly 2 years in jail for posting offensive messages on Facebook against Muslims in Britain. ( Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigel Pelham has been sentenced by a court in Britain to nearly two years in jail for inflammatory messages he posted on Facebook. The messages advocated violence against Muslims.

The official social media account of the Sussex Police touted the sentencing Tuesday, saying, "This man used Facebook to express his hatred for muslims & has gone to prison."

“The charges brought in this case are extremely serious and were only brought against four people in England and Wales during 2016," said Sergeant Peter Allan of the hate crime unit of the Sussex Police.

“Nigel Pelham used Facebook to express some truly offensive views," he said, "with no understanding of how serious his actions were.

“Many people see social media as a harmless and sometimes faceless place to air their opinions," Allan concluded, "however, I hope this shows we will not tolerate this type of behaviour and will act when someone reports their concern about what someone is posting.”

Pelham, 49, said on a Facebook post that Britain should institute a “bomb a mosque day," and advocated that people “put a Muslim on top of a bonfire.”

"Nigel Pelham was charged with eight counts of publishing threatening written material intending to stir up religious hatred against Muslims on dates between February 24 and November 16, 2015 on his own Facebook account," the police said in a statement. He was sentenced to 20 months in jail, to pay a fine, and have his computer hard drives confiscated.

Great Britain, like most countries, does not afford its citizens the expansive free speech rights that the United States does. Many on the left have advocated that the U.S. follow the much more restrictive standard on speech imposed by foreign governments, but civil libertarians and conservatives have staunchly resisted the idea, owing to the protections enshrined in the Constitution.

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