Mass murderer Breivik treated better than hacker, campaign says
Gottfrid Svarholm Warg's supporters say Danish prison system treating hacker unfairly
An international media campaign is targeting the Danish legal system’s treatment of Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svarholm Warg by arguing that convicted Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik receives more humane conviction than the Swedish hacker.
The campaign points out that Breivik, who killed 77 people on 22 July 2011, has been allowed to enrol in political science courses remotely through the University of Oslo and is working on a book, while Warg is held in solitary confinement and denied reading material despite not yet being convicted of a crime.
A campaign attempts to compare Warg's treatment to that of convicted mass murderer Anders Breivik
“I can read whatever I want,” a sign held by Breivik in a doctored photo declares. “I can’t access my own books,” a similarly-altered photo of Warg counters. Below the photos reads the text: “Stop treating activists worse than mass murderers!”
Warg, 29, is being held in a Køge jail under conditions that his mother, Kristina Svartholm, has criticised as “torture”. Following his mother’s complaints, Warg’s conditions were improved to include an extra hour a day of outdoor interaction with other inmates, but most of his time remains in isolation.
Warg was extradited to Denmark from Sweden in November and was charged with illegally disrupting public systems, illegally collecting data and destroying property. The hacker is accused of stealing social security numbers from the Danish driving licence database operated by the IT firm CSC. On December 18, Frederiksberg City Court ruled that Warg was to spend an additional three weeks behind bars.
Petition calls for release and better treatment
Warg’s legion of online supporters are now attempting to draw attention to his treatment. In addition to the Breivik comparisons, a petition on the online campaigning site Avaaz to pardon and release Warg was launched on December 26.
Aimed at PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (S) and the Danish Justice Ministry, the petition criticises Warg’s isolation and calls for him to be provided reading material.
“He is not allowed have newspapers, magazines, books that are in the prison library, or his books that were brought from Sweden with him during extradition,” the petition reads. “Since his arrival [in Denmark] he has received no letters, only a handful of postcards. The prison services excuse all of this by saying that they are worried about Anakata [Warg’s online alias] ruining the evidence that they have not even found yet.”
Founder of Pirate Bay
Warg founded The Pirate Bay, a peer-to-peer torrent file sharing site, in 2003. In 2009, he was found guilty in Sweden of facilitating the dissemination of copyrighted material. Warg is pleading not guilty to the charges he faces in Denmark and has argued that his acquittal of hacking into the bank Nordea should have prevented the trial.
The petition to improve Warg’s conditions had only amassed 191 signatures as of this morning.