Anonymous Hacker Indicted as Hunger Strike Continues

anonymous hacker martin gottesfeld freemartyg
Martin Gottesfeld was arrested in Miami in February on hacking charges. He has now been indicted despite being on hunger strike in prison. FreeMartyG

A member of Anonymous has been indicted on hacking charges whilst on the third week of a prison hunger strike protesting perceived institutionalized torture and political prosecutions.

Martin Gottesfeld, 32, was charged this week in relation to the hacking of Boston Children’s Hospital in 2014 following the alleged mistreatment of one of its patients. Gottesfeld has previously admitted to targeting the hospital, though says he did it in defense of “an innocent, learning-disabled, 15-year-old girl.”

Justina Pelletier, referred to in the indictment as ‘Patient A’, was placed in state custody in 2013 after the Massachusetts hospital claimed her parents were interfering with her care. A video released by the hacker collective Anonymous, which was allegedly produced by Gottesfeld, appeared online in 2014 in the hope of drawing attention to the alleged injustices.

“Gottesfeld posted a YouTube video calling, in the name of the hacking organization Anonymous, for action against Children’s Hospital in response to its treatment of Patient A,” the indictment states. The video does not explicitly call for an attack.

Since beginning his hunger strike on October 3, Gottesfeld tells Newsweek from prison he has lost 16.5 pounds. He says he will continue his hunger strike until two demands are met: a promise from the presidential candidates that children are not mistreated in the way he claims Pelletier was; and an end to the “political” style of prosecution waged by Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.

The office of Carmen Ortiz is yet to respond to a request for comment on the matter.

The prosecutors allege that the subsequent DDoS attack against the hospital lasted for seven days and disrupted the institution’s day-to-day operations, as well as research being done at the hospital. Gottesfeld denies that it caused disruption to patient care.

The cost of responding to and mitigating the damage from the cyber attack, according to the indictment, came to more than $300,000.

In response to the indictment, Gottesfeld issued the following statement from prison: “It’s shocking, the treatment Justina and her family endured has been held to violate the Convention Against Torture. Her case was much more than a medical and custody dispute. She suffered horribly for over a year and could have died.

“Now their opponent is an imprisoned human rights activist on the third week of a hunger strike, and they still won’t engage in a public debate where they hold every advantage, except the whole truth. This indictment, and the manner in which it was unsealed, were cowardly acts.”

A FreeMartyG campaign has been launched by his friends, family and supporters to help raise awareness of his case.  

anonymous hacker hunger strike prison A letter written by Martin Gottesfeld from prison detailing the motivations of his hunger strike. Martin Gottesfeld

Gottesfeld was originally arrested by the FBI after he was rescued off the coast of Cuba in February by a Disney cruise ship. Gottesfeld and his wife were aboard a sailboat in the Caribbean when they encountered problems and were forced to issue a distress signal.