Almost a year after his arrest and indictment for allegedly hacking Stratfor, the private intelligence agency, the accused Anonymous hacktivist Jeremy Hammond has condemned the government and its "aggressive prosecution, riddled with abuse and misconduct," for the death of fellow Internet activist Aaron Swartz. In an impassioned letter released by his lawyers on February 21st, Hammond – who is facing a 30-year-to-life sentence for his role in the Stratfor hack – lashed out at the Obama Administration for a cyber-security strategy he views as "flawed" as well as "systematic corruption involving computer crime investigations, intellectual property law, and government/corporate transparency . . . Aaron's case is part of the recent aggressive, politically-motivated expansion of computer crime law where hackers and activists are increasingly criminalized because of alleged 'cyber-terrorist' threats," he noted. "This sad and angering chapter should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to acknowledge the danger inherent in our criminal justice system."
Hammond, who turned 28 in January, has been held without bail at the Manhattan Correctional Center, a federal jail in lower Manhattan. He is currently in solitary confinement, having been moved there for an indeterminate amount of time in early February after allegedly testing positive for marijuana during a routine drug test. On the same day his letter was released, federal judge Lorraine Preska, who is hearing his case, refused to step aside after Hammond's lawyers, noting that Preska's husband's email was one of thousands released in the Stratfor hack, should recuse herself due to conflict of interest. "Judge Preska is required to avoid the appearance of bias," said Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, which is helping to support Hammond's defense. "How can she be impartial when the case directly affects the man she wakes up to every morning?"
Hammond's next court hearing will be on April 5th, 2013. Until then, he will remain at the MCC, with limited phone and visitation time, due to his isolation. Mail to Hammond can be sent to:
Jeremy Hammond, #18729-424
Metropolitan Correctional Center
150 Park Row
New York, New York, 10007
To contact Hammond's defense committee, supporters can go to www.freehammond.org, or email Hammond's brother, Jason Hammond, at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also encouraged to speak out on Twitter using the hashtag #FreeHammond.
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