An alleged former Anonymous member who is accused of orchestrating a cyber attack on a Boston hospital in order to bring attention to the case of Justina Pelletier has ended a 100-day hunger strike after losing more than 50 pounds in jail, News OK reports.
Martin (Marty) Gottesfeld released a statement through his wife, Dana Gottesfeld, in front of the Boston Court House and office of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz on Wednesday.
Gottesfeld said in the statement that he has been focusing during the hunger strike on the plight of Justin Pelletier and other children like her.
“During the past one hundred days, I have given a lot of thought to Justina Pelletier and the horrific abuse that thousands of institutionalized children just like her face every day. I’ve also thought a lot about the power of Boston Children’s Hospital and how those corrupt medical staff who abused Justina – who conspired to take her away from her parents, are presently free, walking the halls of Bader 5, the psych ward, likely repeating the same offense to the next child.”
The hacktivist said he had also spent his time during the hunger strike thinking about U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and “the legacy she will leave behind,” which he called “a legacy built on fear, intimidation, and rebuke.” Ms. Ortiz, who is leaving her office, also prosecuted hacktivist Aaron Swartz, who eventually killed himself as he was facing decades in prison under her prosecution.
“Whether from a federal appeals court or the residents of Boston, Carmen Ortiz can’t leave office soon enough,” Gottesfeld said. “The only justice affiliated with her is the fact that she is now leaving.”
Marty Gottesfeld was jailed in February of 2016 for a 2014 cyber attack on the Boston Children’s Hospital, where Justina Pelletier was institutionalized in a psychiatric ward against her parents’ wishes.
Justina had been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease by a Tufts Medical Center doctor before seeking treatment with a gastrointestinal specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital, according to Mass Live. The doctors there believed that her symptoms were psychological and caused by her parents, and filed a child abuse report when her parents attempted to take her to a different hospital. A juvenile court then custody of Justina to the Department of Children and Families and she spent over a year in a locked psychiatric ward.
After Marty learned about Justina’s case, he allegedly organized with members of Anonymous and participated in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) operation that disrupted the donation portal for the hospital website during a fundraising drive.
He told the Huffington Post that the reason he orchestrated the cyber attack “is simpler than you might think” and that it was in “defense of an innocent, learning disabled, 15-year-old girl.”
“They stopped her painkillers, leaving her in agony. They stopped her heart medication, leaving her tachycardic. They said she was a danger to herself, and locked her in a psych ward. They said her family was part of the problem, so they limited, monitored, and censored her contact with them.”
Gottesfeld faces a conspiracy charge and charges of intent to damage a protected computer, according to Mint Press News. He is facing up to 25 years in prison if convicted and could pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution.
Dana Gottesfeld has defended her husband’s actions, calling the DDoS attack the “modern-day equivalent of protest for civil rights.” She has compared the cyber attack to an online sit-in, saying it is similar to “if you show up to McDonald’s with 300 people, and then no paying customers can get in.”
In his statement, Marty said he was ending his hunger strike in order to regain his strength to fight for kids like Justina.
“To those who have supported Justina and the cause of halting the abuse of institutionalized children, I have one message – stay strong and don’t give up! If we weaken and cave, the Carmen Ortiz’s and abusers of the world win. And that’s why as of today, I am ending my hunger strike – to gain strength so that I can maintain the ability and God-given right to continue to fight and defend those who cannot defend themselves – the children.”
[Featured Image by Elise Amendola/AP Images]