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Internet Activist Jeremy Hammond Pleads Guilty to Stratfor Leak, Faces Harsh Sentence for Online Protest

Hammond held without bail for 15 months; supporters call for leniency.

May 28, 2013

New York

In federal court this morning, Internet activist Jeremy Hammond pleaded guilty to publicizing internal emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor through Wikileaks.

Hammond pleaded guilty as part of a non-cooperating plea agreement to one violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which carries up to ten years in prison. He has been jailed for 15 months without bail at the Manhattan Correctional Center in New York City, has been denied family visits, and held for weeks in solitary confinement.

“Jeremy has taken responsibility for what he’s done, but he should not face such a harsh sentence for an act of protest from which he did not personally benefit,” said Hammond’s twin brother, Jason Hammond. “I’m glad he’s moved one step closer to freedom but today I’m asking for the judge to consider a sentence appropriate to what is nothing other than a non-violent political protest.”

Jason Hammond is circulating an online petition calling for Jeremy to be sentenced to time served and released. Click HERE to sign the petition.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for September 6.

The Stratfor leak was carried out by the online activist group Anonymous, with the participation of an FBI informant.

The Stratfor emails provided an important source for journalists, spurring articles in dozens of major news outlets around the world. Included among the leaked internal documents were millions of emails that exposed Stratfor’s wide-ranging spying activities, including surveillance of Bhopal activists at the behest of Dow Chemical, of PETA on behalf of Coca-Cola, and of Occupy Wall Street under contract to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“Corporate-government surveillance is one of the most rapidly expanding threats to civil liberties today,” said Abi Hassen, mass defense coordinator for the National Lawyers Guild. “The Stratfor leak is a glimpse into a secret world of corporate spying that is incompatible with this country’s democratic values. Today’s hearing should be a springboard for further investigation of Stratfor, not an opportunity to condemn a young man to a decade in prison for his political activism.”

On May 14, three British Internet activists received prison sentences of two years to 32 months for their involvement in Anonymous leaks. All three are likely to be released on parole after serving half of their sentences. A fourth is free on a suspended sentence, as are two Irish men whom prosecutors declined to charge.

The Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee is a coalition of family members, activists, lawyers, and other supporters who are working together to protect free speech and to support Jeremy Hammond. For more information about the case and Jeremy Hammond, visit www.freejeremy.net.