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EFF.org: ALERT: Protest Russian Programmer's Detainment & Help Pack the Courtroom

Aug 06, 2001, 08:35 (11 Talkback[s])

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has called for renewed protest against the arrest of Russian software engineer Dmitry Sklyarov in conjunction with his bail hearing this morning (Monday, August 6) in San Jose. The action alert calls for participation in protests and courtroom packing.

"MONDAY, AUGUST 6: Join other freedom lovers in renewed protest against the arrest of Russian software engineer Dmitry Sklyarov. Dmitry was arrested in Las Vegas on July 16 by the FBI after presenting a paper on cryptography software he developed in Russia. The US Attorney for the Northern District of California (i.e., the Dept. of Justice) has filed criminal charges against Dmitry in Calif., under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for providing software that decrypts Adobe eBook files so that their content can be accessed in ways that Adobe's own software does not provide (e.g. text-to-speech translation for the blind). We believe that this prosecution is a reprehensible assault on the free expression rights of programmers (and ultimately of end users), under a law that will not withstand constitutional scrutiny. What YOU can do.

Dmitry has been held in custody from his arrest, until the present time. He is finally being transferred to San Jose, and will have another bail hearing at the San Jose Federal Building, San Jose, CA, before Magistrate Judge Edward A. Infante, Mon., Aug. 6, at 11am PT.

At a bail hearing there are two issues: Is the person likely to continue committing the alleged crime, and is the person a flight risk (unlikely to return to court). In this case the real issue is flight risk, since Sklyarov is a citizen of another country and has no ties (job, property, family) to the United States. He already had a bail hearing in Las Vegas (in the district where he was arrested), but is entitled to another one upon his arrival in San Jose (in the district where he will be tried). The judge in such a case will look at the defendant's circumstances and determine whether there are any safeguards or combination of safeguards that will ensure that the person will come back to court and not become a fugitive from trial. What this means for Dmitry Sklyarov is that it will be very hard for him to get out of jail pending trial unless he can come up with some real ties to this district and/or some other means of ensuring he remains in the U.S. for trial can satisfy the District Attorney and the court (e.g., electronic location-tracking bracelet, house arrest, etc.)"

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