Activist hacker Jeremy Hammond, famous for pleading guilty to leaking millions of emails that revealed what Hammond’s backers say is illegal activity by the Texas-based security firm Stratfor, is being pressured to testify before a secretive Federal grand jury.
Hammond was taken from his cell in Memphis, where he’s been imprisoned since 2013, and has been transported to eastern Virginia to appear before the grand jury.
Advocates speaking on his behalf say that Hammond will refuse to testify, though this may put his projected release date of December 2019 in jeopardy.
Hammond’s backers suspect this is the same grand jury that Chelsea Manning, another famous data leaker, has been jailed for refusing to testify before.
Hammond’s and Manning’s testimony could be used to bring additional charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was arrested in April.
A statement from the Jeremy Hammond Support Committee said that the grand-jury gambit is a “punitive and mean-spirited,” since his 2013 guilty plea gave him immunity from testifying.
Hammond hacked and leaked millions of emails from Stratfor, a private intelligence firm with a global reach and links to governments and corporations around the world.
The emails revealed what Hammond’s backers say is illegal activity by both Stratfor and its clients — such as the Dow Chemical Company.
Down paid Stratfor to spy on activists trying to hold the company accountable for the deadly gas leak in Bhopal, India, in 1984.
The gas leaked from a pesticide plant operated by a Dow subsidiary, and is estimated to have killed as many as 16,000 people over time and injured more than a half a million people in the surrounding region.
Sources: CNN, Courage Foundation, Wikipedia, The Daily Dot, Yahoo News