Alleged Anonymous hacker Matt DeHart deported to U.S. from Canada
Published Monday, March 2, 2015 8:28AM EST
Last Updated Monday, March 2, 2015 9:05AM EST
The parents of a former U.S. soldier who was deported from Canada and handed over to American authorities investigating WikiLeaks and Anonymous say their son has been falsely accused and tortured by his captors.
Matt DeHart, 30, was taken from his Ontario prison cell on Sunday and delivered to U.S. agents at the border. He had been seeking asylum in Canada where his parents are under their own removal order.
DeHart said his son was given a cellular phone by a kind Canada Border Services Agency officer and allowed to call his parents in Toronto and say goodbye before crossing over into the U.S. They believe it may be weeks before they speak to him again or even receive an update on his location or status.
"We prayed on the phone together. He said he knew he would be OK and God would take care of him," Paul DeHart told CTV's Canada AM on Monday.
DeHart and his parents fled to Canada last year ahead of a trial on child pornography charges dating back to 2010. The family insists the charges were trumped up as part of a larger espionage and national security probe related to Matt's alleged involvement with the Anonymous and WikiLeaks hacker groups, and the leaking of a classified U.S. government document.
DeHart, a former U.S. soldier, had enrolled in college in Prince Edward Island in 2010, but had to return to the U.S. to process his student visa application. He was arrested at the border on espionage charges and was interrogated and tortured during his time in custody, DeHart and his parents claim.
His parents told Canada AM that child pornography was never brought up in the interviews, which instead focused on espionage. However, the child porn charges do allow U.S. authorities to hold onto Matt's computer -- which his parents say is the real reason for the charges.
Matt has also claimed he was denied timely court appearances or access to a lawyer during his incarceration.
"We didn't know for a long time what had happened to him," Leann DeHart told Canada AM, speaking of Matt's first arrest. "We had some idea when we started receiving medical bills... and then we start to find out he was taken to a hospital for a psychotic break and as time rolled on, he was moved from prison to prison, and it took about a month before we actually saw him."
Eventually Matt was freed and the family fled to Canada in 2014 ahead of his trial, believing their son would not receive fair legal treatment in the U.S.
They filed a request for his asylum with the Immigration and Refugee Board. That request was eventually denied under the assumption that the U.S. could be trusted with handling DeHart's case.
“The Refugee Protection Division determines that the claimants are not Convention refugees and are not persons in need of protection. Therefore, the Refugee Protection Division rejects the claims,” according to the IRB statement issued Feb. 6.