British hacking suspect wins USA extradition fight

Lauri Love

Lauri Love

Love, who was charged in New Jersey, New York and Virginia, allegedly hacked into the networks of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and other government computers between 2012 and 2013.

Analysis Accused hacker Lauri Love will not be extradited from the United Kingdom to America to stand trial on accusations that he hacked into a number of American government agencies, the High Court ruled this morning.

Peter Caldwell QC of Drystone Chambers, the UK Crown Prosecution Service barrister appearing for the U.S. government, argued in court in November that the forum bar should not have been applied to Love because the harm he was said to have caused was in America, and therefore he should answer for that to the USA justice system. The US has 14 days to appeal against today's ruling, otherwise the extradition case is "definitely over", says Sky News.

"This decision obviously affects my life but the reason I've gone through this ordeal is not just to save myself from being kidnapped and locked up for 99 years in a country I've never visited, but it's to set a precedent", Love told reporters outside the court after the decision was handed down.

He also suffers from a depressive illness and severe eczema. Charges were not brought in the UK, as authorities said the case would be too hard to pursue, as the evidence was in the United States.

Instead Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Justice Ouseley permitted his appeal against his extradition, stating it would "not be oppressive" to "prosecute Love in England for the offences".

Love, who has Asperger syndrome, won the right to appeal in April 2017.

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"We are hopeful that other people will be able to rely on this".

This is especially important in cases of vulnerable people like Lauri Love.

Liberty also argues that the treaty is flawed as it does not require judges to assess which country is the most appropriate forum for the case being tried - suspects can be extradited to the United States when the crime was committed by a UK citizen while in the UK.

In their ruling, the High Court judges raised the possibility that Love could be put on trial in England, saying that that wouldn't be considered "oppressive" and that he would be much less of a suicide risk if imprisoned in England because he would be close to his family and loves ones.

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

Having identified a high risk of suicide, she "properly assessed whether and how that risk could be managed were the appellant to be extradited". Many argue that the USA government wanted to make an example of Swartz and the charges were what caused him to take his own life.

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