Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has said that he would consider granting pardons to several high-profile convicts of hacking and computer-related crimes such as Ross Ulbricht, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning.
In 2015, Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was convicted of drug, conspiracy, and hacking charges, which gained significant popularity as the first darknet for individuals to buy and sell illegal items over the internet such as drugs and weapons anonymously.
In 2013, the U.S. charged Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency analyst, with violating the Espionage Act after he released a number of agency documents to journalists. He currently resides in Russia after the country granted him temporary asylum.
The former governor of New Mexico stated recently, however, that he would consider pardoning Snowdon.
In a statement, Joe Hunter, Johnson’s communications director, said:
He has made it clear on numerous occasions that he would ‘look seriously at’ pardoning Edward Snowden, based on public information that Snowden’s actions did not cause actual harm to any U.S. intelligence personnel.
Hunter added that Johnson ‘would look favorably on pardoning Ross Ulbricht,’ which, according to Hunter, is consistent with Johnson’s commitment to grant pardons to whistleblowers and nonviolent drug offenders who have been incarcerated under misguided laws.
Highest incarceration rate in the world
The U.S. currently has the highest imprisonment rate in the world.
For example, Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to ten years for hacking, Barrett Brown, a journalist was sentenced to 63 months for linking documents in a chatroom to hacked Stratfor, and journalist Matthew Keys was sentenced to two years in prison after releasing login details to a hacker who proceeded to mar a Los Angeles Times story for 40 minutes.
Gov. Johnson finds it to be an outrage that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the developed world, and announced in 2012 that, as President, he would promptly commence the process of pardoning nonviolence offenders who have done no real harm to others.
Of course, with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the final stages of the presidential election, it remains to be seen whether any of the nonviolent offenders will receive pardons in the future or spend the rest of their time in prison.
Clinton is reported to have stated that Snowden’s disclosures consequently broke the law and that he should face court while Trump took it to extreme levels by tweeting in 2013 that Snowden should be executed.
It doesn’t look like any of the offenders will be receiving pardons anytime soon.
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