BOSTON – The US Attorney’s office has decided to dismiss the charges against Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz after his reported suicide.
According to NBC News, paperwork was filed on Monday dropping the charges that were against Swartz.
Because of Swartz’s death, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz did not want to discuss the case.
Christina Dilorio-Sterling wrote this in an email to Boston.com:
“We want to respect the privacy of the family and do not feel it is appropriate to comment on the case at this time.”
When Swartz was a teenager, he helped to create RSS and was an advocate for making as much information on the Web free to the public.
Swartz, 26, was indicted in 2011 by the federal government on 13 counts including charges of wire fraud and computer fraud.
In an attempt to provide free access to JSTOR, a subscription service for science and literacy journals on MIT’s network, Swartz downloaded the entire library. The entire library consisted of 4.8 million articles and documents.
According to ItemLive, Swartz’s family believes that his suicide was a “product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.”
Swartz’s family continued to say this in a statement over the weekend:
“Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The U.S. Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.”
MIT President L. Rafael Reif said this in an email to MIT community:
“I want to express very clearly that I and all of us at MIT are extremely saddened by the death of this promising young man who touched the lives of so many. It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy.”
A petition to remove Ortiz from office due to “overreach” in the Swartz case has been filed recently.
The petition says that the prosecutor who “used the powers granted to them by their office to hound him into a position where he was facing a ruinous trial, life in prison and the ignominy and shame of being a convicted felon” for “an alleged crime that the supposed victims did not wish to prosecute” should be removed from office.
What say you public? Should Ortiz be removed or do you think he was just doing his job?