Two men have been charged with distributing child pornography in the case of a 17-year-old who died after a photo of her alleged rape appeared online.

Rehtaeh Parsons was taken off life support on 7 April 2012, two days after she was found hanged in the bathroom of her home in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

It is believed she attempted suicide 18 months after a photograph of her allegedly being raped by four boys at a house party in 2011 appeared online and was circulated around her school.

Police initially said there was not enough evidence to charge anyone in connection with the alleged incident.

The case was eventually reopened following public outcry. Hacktivist group Anonymous even got involved in the case, warning police they would reveal the identity of the four boys alleged to have taken part in the attack if they took no legal action.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) chief supt Roland Wells said one man, 18, has now been charged with two counts of distributing child pornography and the second man, also 18, was charged with making child pornography and distributing it.

The two have not been identified because they were minors when the alleged crimes occurred.

Halifax police chief Jean-Michel Blais said there was not enough evidence to bring forward sexual assault charges against the pair.

Police in April said a person provided new information in the Parsons case and was willing to verify who the suspects are.

The Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, has praised the progress the case has made since Rehtaeh's death gained worldwide attention.

"I just want to say how pleased we are that progress has been made. I hope this will provide some measure of comfort to family members" said Harper.

Rehtaeh's death prompted the Nova Scotia government to launch reviews of the RCMP's original investigation and the school board's handling of the matter.

People hold photographs of 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons during a memorial vigil at Victoria Park in Halifax, Nova Scotia
People hold photographs of 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons during a memorial vigil at Victoria Park in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Following the worldwide attention Rehteah's death gained, the father of the 17-year-old, Glen Canning, publicly thanked Anonymous for helping to get the case re-opened.

In a blog post, Canning wrote: "I want to say thank you to Anonymous for getting involved in my daughter's case. Thank you for being the driving force behind the new information that came forward and thank you for your continued support for bringing the four men who raped and ultimately murdered my daughter to justice.

"I won't forget this."

Parsons' death has been compared to similar cases in the US. In California, 15-year-old Audrie Pott killed herself in September 2012 eight days after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by three boys, who spread a photo of the alleged incident around her school. Three people were later arrested.