R.I.P!! The Smiling Hacker Sentenced to Death for SpyEye Virus.
USA: Famed Hacker Algerian Activist Hamza Bendelladj Sentenced to the Death Penalty.
Hoax or Fact:
Various stories in circulation online since at least 2015 state that the famed Algerian Hacker Hamza Bendelladj has been sentenced to Death penalty by a US jury or by Thailand government. No, the claims are not facts.
About Hamza Bendelladj
Hamza Bendelladj is an Algerian computer science graduate, hacker and a co-creator of the SpyEye Trojan that was designed for the theft of confidential private data as well as financial credentials of the targeted victim. Hamza Bendelladj allegedly stole money from more than 200 American banks and financial institutions, and then gave millions of dollars to Palestinian charities, which made him a hero in the eyes of many. For the cyber crime, Bendelladj was arrested in Thailand back in 2013 and was later deported to the United States. He was charged with 23 different crimes and alleges from 2009 to 2011, including several bank wire frauds, computer frauds and abuse schemes. Hamza Bendelladj was dubbed the "happy hacker" because he was photographed smiling when he was arrested and taken into custody at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Rumors about Hamza Bendelladj's Death Penalty
In late 2015, there were many rumors on social media sites claiming that Hamza Bendelladj was facing the death penalty for his crimes. The rumors became so popular that some of his supporters began a campaign asking for his life to be spared. The solidarity of the movement prompted the US ambassador to Algeria, Joan Polaschik to tweet and refute the widely publicized claims.
Again in early March 2016 couple of entertainment based websites reported that Hamza Bendelladj was sentenced to death by hanging, according to the laws of Thailand. The alleged reason being, he rejected a deal with the government on how he did the hacking. However, as a matter of fact, Hamza Bendelladj cannot be sentenced to death because all his criminal activities were electronic and he had already pleaded guilty for his crimes on 26 June 2015. Cyber crimes are not a capital offense and do not receive the death penalty. If convicted, Bendelladj can face imprisonment for many years and may have to pay huge fine.
Coming to the picture in which Hamza Bendelladj is allegedly shown to be hanged, it is not him, but a look-alike Majid Kavousifar who was hanged in a Tehran square for the murder of a prominent judge back in 2007. So the stories saying the 'happy hacker' Hamza Bendelladj was sentenced to death penalty are just hoaxes.