The alleged founder of dark web marketplace Silk Road has marked five years in prison, after being handed a double life sentence with no chance of parole.
Ross Ulbricht began his sentence on October 1, 2013, after being charged with a litany of offences relating to the marketplace, which was predominantly used for illegal transactions, including alleged drug trafficking on an industrial scale.
The marketplace, which was predominantly powered by BTC transactions, was taken down by authorities in the same month, the first of several similar markets to have been tackled by the FBI and other law enforcement authorities.
FreeRoss.org, a campaign group led by Ulbricht’s family and supporters, have launched a new project to raise awareness of the case. “Railroaded” is a six-part series that seeks “to accurately present the available evidence surrounding the creation, investigation and shutdown of Silk Road, and the prosecution of Ross Ulbricht.”
On the website, the group stated, “October 1 marks five years that Ross has been imprisoned…On this unhappy anniversary, we’re launching a new project revealing many surprising details about Ross’ case, unknown to most people. You can read or listen to the first episode now. There are six weekly episodes that will take you through the labyrinthine maze of this outrageous case, so stay tuned.”
Today marks the end of my 5th year in prison.
— Ross Ulbricht (@RealRossU) October 1, 2018
A spokesperson from the group said Ross’s sentence was disproportionate, particularly in light of his personal character.
“Although five years in prison would harden many, it is not true of Ross. Throughout his long ordeal he has remained a positive force and is liked by inmates, guards and prison staff alike. True to his values of peace and non-violence, Ross recently refused to take part in an assault on another inmate,” according to the group. “This defiance made him a target and he was put in solitary protective custody, where he is today. He could have avoided this hardship but wasn’t willing to hurt someone else. Yet the judge ruled that Ross was so dangerous that she condemned him to die in prison.”
Ulbricht’s case was appealed as far as the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately rejected his petition. Family and supporters have since raised a petition, securing over 85,000 signatures calling for President Trump to extend clemency to Ross in the circumstances.
As of today, Ulbricht remains in prison, as he begins the sixth year of his double life term.
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