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The New Political Prisoners: Leakers, Hackers and Activists

Tim DeChristopher


Tim DeChristopher
AP Photo/Jim Urquhart
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WHO: Tim DeChristopher, 31

THE CHARGE: In December 2008, Tim DeChristopher attended an auction at which the U.S. government was selling oil and gas drilling rights. While he initially intended merely to make a speech, DeChristopher ended up bidding on more than 22,000 acres of land, throwing the auction into turmoil. For what was essentially a prank, DeChristopher was charged with two felonies.

PROBLEMS WITH THE CASE: Within weeks of taking office, President Obama canceled the leases for 130,000 acres of land near two national parks, including those that were up for auction when DeChristopher went to bid. This did not stop the government from going ahead with its case.

THE PUNISHMENT: DeChristopher was sentenced in July 2011 to two years in prison and fined $10,000. He was moved to a halfway house in Salt Lake City in October 2012, where he will finish out the remainder of his sentence.


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