The New Political Prisoners: Leakers, Hackers and Activists

Meet the new generation of dissidents being locked up for taking a stand against the government

Jeremy Hammond

Jeremy Hammond
AP Photo/Cook County Sheriff's Department

WHO: Jeremy Hammond, 28

THE CHARGE: Rolling Stone's Janet Reitman profiled this radical hacker in November 2012's "Enemy of the State." In December 2011, while working with Antisec – a group of hackers connected to Anonymous – Hammond allegedly accessed the servers of Stratfor, a private intelligence firm, and stole client lists, credit card information, and millions of emails. Wikileaks later published the data.

PROBLEMS WITH THE CASE: Hammond's lawyers will argue that their client's case raises questions of entrapment. Unbeknownst to Hammond, one of his closest Antisec colleagues, Hector Monsegur, became a government informant around the time that he invited Hammond to join Antisec. As Reitman wrote in her RS article, it appears that Hammond was the victim of an elaborate set-up in which Monsegur, under FBI guidance, lured Hammond into the Stratfor hack. Loretta Preska, the judge presiding over Hammond's case, recently refused to recuse herself from the case despite the fact that her husband was an alleged victim of the Stratfor hacks.

THE PUNISHMENT: After waiting for more than eight months at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center, Hammond was denied bail in late November. He was placed in solitary confinement in early February, from which he recently wrote an open letter about Aaron Swartz's suicide and the government's persecution of hackers. He faces up to life in prison.

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