Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Blasts Canada For Denying Asylum To Alleged Anonymous Hacker Matt Dehart

By @ibtimesau on
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures during a news conference at the Ecuadorian embassy in central London August 18, 2014. Assange, who has spent over two years inside Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, said on Monday he planned to leave the building "soon", without giving further details. REUTERS/John Stillwell/pool REUTERS/John Stillwell/pool

Canada might as “well not have a border,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said, when it decided to deny the asylum petition of alleged Anonymous hacker Matt DeHart and then had him turned over to U.S. authorities investigating WikiLeaks and Anonymous.

In a report by CTV, the parents of DeHart said they only learned of his deportation to the U.S. when he was already at the border. They said their son asked to call his parents in Toronto before stepping over the border. One of the Canada Border Services Agency officers had been kind enough to lend him a cellular phone. "We prayed on the phone together. He said he knew he would be OK and God would take care of him," Paul DeHart told CTV's Canada AM on Monday.

DeHart fled to Canada in 2014 ahead of a criminal trial on child pornography charges. But such were only false accusations, he claimed, meant to be used as leverage to push a probe into espionage and national security focused on his alleged involvement with the Anonymous and WikiLeaks hacker groups. He had likewise been alleged as to have leaked a number of classified U.S. government documents. While in custody in the United States, the former American serviceman in the Air National Guard claimed he was subjected to torture. “The abuse of the law in DeHart’s case is obvious, shocking and wrong,” Assange said in a statement.

When DeHart was eventually freed, it was then that he and his parents fled to Canada. They filed with the Immigration and Refugee Board a request for his asylum, but was denied. The IRB, in a statement issued Feb 6, said it denied the request because the claimants were “not Convention refugees and are not persons in need of protection.” Various human rights experts and supporters had slammed Canada for its decision.

“It raises important legal questions, including the behaviour of the Canadian asylum system in relation to the United States, the status of ‘data couriers’ to WikiLeaks and other publications, the status of Anonymous ‘members,’ the limits of state power during espionage investigations, the abuse of medical procedures, the use of deportation instead of extradition, the exploitation of the mentally vulnerable by investigators and the use of unrelated charges of a taboo nature during a national security investigation,” Sarah Harrison, acting director of Courage Foundation and also a WikiLeaks editor, said.