Ross Ulbricht has taken his voice where it all started – online. On July 19, the incarcerated Silk Road founder made his first tweet since being arrested and incarcerated for life. In it, he expressed that the giant social media site could help him find his voice after so many years of silence. In just a few days, over 12,000 accounts followed him.
Even though the letter posted to the FreeRoss.org website by his family earlier indicated that Ross was not exactly sure of what to tweet, and that he would figure out as time goes, he made the maiden post on Thursday last week.
He further made three more consecutive tweets for three days. After the first tweet on hoping to find his voice once again through the platform, Ross made a second tweet on the second day thanking his supporters for rallying up a presidential pardon petition. He mentioned that he had received nine pages of comments on his petition in the mail. He also expressed gratitude for retweets; information about it had been passed to him by his mother who has been a major player in connecting him with the world. It might have taken only a day, but Ross said on July 20, that he was beginning to feel the ‘connection’ he was hoping for.
On the third day, he reported that almost 20,000 people had signed the petition for his clemency through the page freeross.org. Today it is close to 35,000. He also thanked his mother for setting it up. To date, the petition to seek a presidential pardon for his two life sentences and an additional 40 years without parole has attracted over 20 organizations enjoining in the cause as amicus. The said organizations wrote briefs in support for calls for clemency of Ross.
The RealRossU twitter account was created this June. Ross is thankful for all the support from individual supporters as well as organizations championing for his release.
It is more than just as coincidence that Ross lost his freedom through the internet and is now hopeful that he can regain his voice through it. While arguing his case during the trial, Ross explained that his intentions in creating Silk Road were to give people a space to express their freedoms through commerce without causing any harm. His primary agenda was to bring together privacy and freedom, in line with his Libertarian ideologies which he stills defends and advances through his letters from jail. His letters are copied and posted online for the consumption by his followers.
According to family, friends and supporters of the 34-year-old, his trial and subsequent sentencing was rife with abuse. After lower court appeals failed Ross’ lawyers opted to move to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court denied even allowing a hearing to challenge the results of previous cases, suggesting Ulbricht’s 4th and 6th amendment rights were violated. Instead the results of the 2nd Circuits Court of Appeals was upheld. For this reason, his mother set up the petition to help get him out of jail.
Earlier in the month, the US libertarian party agreed at their annual convention to petition President Trump for a pardon. Failure to which, they expressly made intentions to elect a Libertarian president in 2020 to set him free.