February 25, 2018

Main » British hacker Lauri Love wins fight against extradition to US

British hacker Lauri Love wins fight against extradition to US

08 February 2018

Mr Love, who also suffers from a depressive illness and severe eczema, is alleged to have stolen huge amounts of data from U.S. agencies, including the Federal Reserve, the United States army, the defence department, Nasa and the FBI in a spate of online attacks in 2012 and 2013.

An accused computer hacker won his appeal [judgment, PDF] on Monday in the UK High Court of Justice [official website], stopping his extradition to the US. Love has neither confirmed nor denied his involvement in the hacks - United States authorities, however, believe he was instrumental.

Love suffers from Asperger syndrome and his legal team argued that if exposed to the USA prison system, he would likely commit suicide.

The U.S. has 14 days to lodge their grounds for appealing the decision to Britain's Supreme Court, said Love's lawyers.

Love's case bears a striking resemblance to that of Gary McKinnon, who was also accused of hacking USA government computers and fought extradition for a decade.

One of the attacks was launched from a computer server in or around Romania, which prosecutors said was leased by Love.

"Very happy, relieved, very thankful for the High Court, for the judges", a beaming Love, surrounded by cheering supporters, told waiting reporters outside the courthouse after his appeal was upheld.

In response, Love's barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC of Doughty Street Chambers, argued that Love's connections to the United Kingdom - which is one of the seven forum bar tests for judges to consider - should mean he ought not to be sent to America.

Charged with multiple offences in three USA indictments, he had been facing a life prison sentence in the United States if found guilty, a fate which he has said could lead him to taking his own life. In practice, this means that during trial proceedings for a case in which a US citizen might be granted bail, UK suspects often have to stay in prison in the United States as they have no USA residence.

He said outside the courthouse he hopes his case can help spur discussion about how people with mental health issues are handled by the justice system.

"We're hopeful that other people may be able to rely on this verdict to ensure they are treated more humanely by the justice system".

"We accept that the evidence shows that the fact of extradition would bring on severe depression, and that Mr Love would probably be determined to commit suicide, here or in America", the High Court wrote in its ruling.

Having identified a high risk of suicide, she "properly assessed whether and how that risk could be managed were the appellant to be extradited". His father said that Love had "feared for his life" as he faced being sent to a United States prison.

His extradition was ordered by British Home Secretary Amber Rudd in November a year ago after he was unable to persuade a judge that he should be tried in the UK.

British hacker Lauri Love wins fight against extradition to US