US court drop charges on Aaron Swartz, 3 days after his suicide

15.01.2013 - 09:46

On 15 January, a federal court in Massachusetts dismissed the hacking case against Reddit founder, Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide last Friday

Swartz's attorney, Elliot Peters, said in an email that the dropped charges were “too little too late,” as the dismissal “would have been welcome this time last week.” US Attorney Carmen Ortiz and Assistant US Attorney Stephen Heymann, filed the two sentence notice of dismissal. A petition for the government’s removal of Ortiz was created Saturday on White House’s official website. The petition, calls for the removal of United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office “for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz.” Up until now the petition has garnered more than 26,000 signatures.

Swartz was going to face a trial in February, on charges relating to downloading 5 million academic articles from JSTOR (the digital library of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). According to RT, despite the fact, JSTOR decided not to press charges, while Swartz was still alive, MIT went ahead with a civil suit. As a result, Aaron Swartz faced serious legal consequences, which observers believe led to his suicide last week.

On Monday, global hacktivist collective Anonymous broke into MIT's website and replaced its homepage with the simple line, “In Memoriam, Aaron Swartz.” Anonymous also left a statement, characterising the US Department of Justice's pursuit of charges against Swartz “a grotesque miscarriage of justice” and “a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for.”

"We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all,” the Anonymous statement underlined.