Photo: Wikipedia/The United States Attorney’s Office
On Friday evening, 26-year-old Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz tragically died.Swartz, who also co-wrote RSS and was an Internet activist, hanged himself in his apartment. He had battled depression and was facing jail time after hacking into MIT’s servers and stealing millions of journal articles.
His funeral was held on Tuesday, and his father told guests that his son had been “killed by the government,” the AP reports.
“He was killed by the government, and MIT betrayed all of its basic principles,” Mr. Swartz told the crowd.
The comment was directed at U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann, who were leading the charge on Swartz’s case. Many feel the pair tried to paint Swartz’s action in the worst possible light and give him an unreasonable sentence. Swartz was potentially facing years in jail for stealing copies of papers; he caused no direct harm to anyone.
Still, it’s not fair to say that the government alone killed Aaron Swartz. While the stress of his trial may have significantly contributed to his suicidal thoughts, Swartz battled depression long before the U.S. prosecutors entered the picture.
Ortiz declined to comment about Swartz’s remark to the AP.