Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student who was sentenced to 30 days for spying on his gay roommate, who later killed himself, has been released from prison ten days early — a move that has prompted sharp criticism from local gay rights activists.
Tyler Clementi, a student from Rutgers University, New Jersey, jumped from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010, allegedly after Mr Dharun Ravi filmed him kissing an older man, and streamed it on the internet.
Mr Ravi was charged and found guilty on all 15 counts, including bias intimidation, tampering evidence and hindering apprehension.
Steven Goldstein, chairman and chief executive of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s largest LGBT organisation, said in a statement: “Dharun Ravi’s walk out of jail after only 20 days is practically a Monopoly game’s ‘get out of jail free’ card — a travesty of justice.”
Campus Pride, which is a US-wide university association for LGBT students, issued a statement that he was “deeply disappointed and remains conflicted over the punishment in this case.” Its head, Shane Windmeyer, told the Los Angeles Times: ”Colleges and universities across the country need to take greater accountability for the safety of LGBT students and actively discourage the bystander behaviors that attributed to this tragedy.”
The case and the sentencing has deeply divided the LGBT community in the US, with many arguing the sentencing was too lenient, while others suggesting that Mr Ravi’s culpability has been overestimated by the media.
It is understood that Mr Ravi, though facing three years of probation, in addition to $11,000 fine and 300 hours of community service, will not face deportation to India, his native country.