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|Internet activist Aaron Swartz (1986-2013)|
Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz reportedly committed suicide after being mercilessly hounded by federal prosecutors and MIT (Massachusetts institute of Technology) administration, who both refused to drop charges even after being notified Aaron was a serious suicide risk, leading many to demand the U.S. government reevaluate what exactly their role is and how it is they choose to dispense justice.
Aaron was pursued by U.S. prosecutors for downloading a large amount of educational articles, materials that were freely and legally available to him and others, with the intention of sharing these articles freely with others throughout the World Wide Web. An expert witness was prepared to testify that what Aaron did was not at all illegal, his actions only used a lot of Wi-Fi bandwidth, and Aaron's actions amounted to nothing more than ‘writing a check at the supermarket with a long line waiting behind you.’
Aaron though was terrified at the prospect of taking his case before a jury, as U.S. prosecutors threatened him with an inhumane 35 year maximum prison sentence if a jury found him guilty. Many see this kind of power play as nothing more than extortion and a denial of a citizen's right to a fair trial before their peers.
Said former White House counsel John Dean in reference to U. S. prosecutors; "These are not people who are conscientiously and fairly upholding our federal laws. Rather, they are typically authoritarian personalities who get their jollies from shamelessly beating up on unfortunate people like Aaron Swartz."