Matt DeHart named as third Courage beneficiary

Matt DeHart named as third Courage beneficiary

Courage, the international organisation dedicated to the protection of truth-tellers, has announced that its new beneficiary will be Matt DeHart.

Matt DeHart is a 30-year-old former US National Guard drone team member and alleged WikiLeaks courier who worked with the hactivist group Anonymous. In the last 24 hours, he has been deported/extradited from Canada to the United States to face charges that judges in two countries (the US and Canada) have found to lack credibility.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: “Canada’s actions are shameful. It may as well not have a border.” A few minutes ago Matt DeHart appeared before a judge in Buffalo and was ordered to be transferred to Tennessee for arraignment.

For the past five years, Matt DeHart has been at the centre of a US national security investigation and has experienced extraordinary hardship as a result. In 2010, Matt was detained at the US–Canadian border by FBI agents, who administered an IV (intravenous line) to Matt against his will. They questioned him over several days regarding his military unit, his involvement with Anonymous and WikiLeaks. They denied him access to his lawyer, deprived him of sleep, food and water, and tortured him during this time. Although an FBI report confirms Matt was detained for an “espionage matter” and agents asked him nothing about pornography, Matt was presented with a hastily drafted criminal complaint alleging he solicited nude photos from a teenager in 2008.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stated: “The abuse of the law in DeHart’s case is obvious, shocking and wrong. Matt DeHart and his family have suffered enough.”

On 3 April 2013, Matt and his family crossed the US–Canadian border again, seeking political asylum and protection under the United Nations Convention on Torture. Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board turned down the family’s claim in February 2015, even though they found no “credible and trustworthy evidence” to support the charges Matt faces.

Courage has accepted Matt as its third beneficiary in order to raise awareness about his case, prevent him from experiencing further mistreatment in detention and to raise urgently needed funds for his legal defence. DeHart’s legal team have confirmed that they intend to launch legal action against the US government as well as defend Matt from the charges he currently faces.

Sarah Harrison, Courage’s Acting Director, said:

The FBI has ruined Matt’s life to cover up what he knew and to punish his support of WikiLeaks and Anonymous. Objective judges have agreed that the child porn charges are a ruse to smear him in pursuit of national security information.

Tor Ekeland, one of Matt’s lawyers, said:

Knowing the Courage Foundation has Matt’s back is a great relief to everyone fighting for his cause. It’s a privilege to work with such an esteemed organisation so committed to the freedom of information, and to know that there is light in the darkness.

Matt’s parents, Paul and Leann DeHart, said in a statement,

We are humbled and grateful for the support of the Courage Foundation. Facing a crisis of tsunami magnitude, we are comforted knowing we do not stand up against the tide alone.

In addition to hosting the defence fund, Courage will publicly advocate for Matt DeHart and build his network of support. A re-launched support website at mattdehart.com will provide regular updates on Matt’s case and raise public awareness about the threats he faces.

Monday 2 March 2015 > français

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