No Due Process of Law As Case Against Anonymous Hacker Delayed 6 Months
(MintPress) – Barrett Brown, an unofficial spokesperson for the hacker collective known as “Anonymous,” will have to wait at least one year for his federal trial after prosecutors this week announced that legal proceedings would be delayed for six months. Brown has been indicted on three separate charges after a raid on his apartment last year. If convicted on all charges, he could serve 100 years in prison.
Brown was due to be tried later this month following three separate federal indictments filed since September 2012.
Formed in 2003, Anonymous has been responsible for hacking into government websites to protest government surveillance and censorship policies that the group says are violations of civil liberties. The most recent Anonymous attack occurred last month when hackers dumped the names and contact information of U.S. State Department employees on the Internet.
The attack was part of Operation Last Resort, a series of ongoing actions against U.S. government websites designed to combat what hacktivists see as overly restrictive copyright laws and rules of service on the Internet. No statistics exist on Anonymous because the anarchist group has no central leadership.
Brown was detained March 2012 during an FBI raid on his apartment. Agents seized a computer and charged the hacker with “making an online threat, retaliating against a federal officer and conspiring to release the personal information of a U.S. government employee.” The hacker posted an online video shortly after the raid that prosecutors believe constitutes a threat against a federal agent.
“I know what’s legal, I know what’s been done to me … And if it’s legal when it’s done to me, it’s going to be legal when it’s done to FBI Agent Robert Smith — who is a criminal,” said Brown in one of the video clips uploaded to the web. “That’s why Robert Smith’s life is over. And when I say his life is over, I’m not saying I’m going to kill him, but I am going to ruin his life and look into his fucking kids … How do you like them apples?”
Brown claims that the statement was in response to threats federal agents made against him and his mother. Since his arrest, he has been held at a detention center in Fort Worth, Texas.
The hacker’s legal team believes that the delays to his trial are a violation of the 31-year-old’s constitution rights. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that no person can be “deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
The use of military tribunals against terrorists remains a contentious policy, vehemently opposed by right groups that claim expedient trials should be afforded all suspected criminals, regardless of nationality.
Brown’s case follows delays in the Jeremy Hammond trial, a hacker facing similar charges. Jeremy Hammond, an Internet hacker and WikiLeaks contributor was moved to solitary confinement this month.
His supporters contend that this is an unconstitutional attempt to silence the activist alleged to be responsible for leaking five million emails that exposed widespread corruption within private corporations and foreign governments.
Hammond has been held without bail or trial for more than 11 months. He could face life in prison if convicted on all charges.
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