Saturday, 24 February, 2018

Hacker suspect Lauri Love wins U.S. extradition appeal

Lauri Love court case Lauri Love court case
Andrew Cummings | 08 February, 2018, 12:21

Lauri Love, a British student, was indicted on charges [JURIST report] of hacking into United States government websites in 2013, along with other unnamed co-conspirators, stealing huge amounts of data.

LAURI LOVE has won a court battle against extradition to the US after his arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2013 for allegedly hacking into US Government websites such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Nasa. His lawyers said it would be "unjust and oppressive" to send him to the U.S.to face trial. It has 14 days, starting today, to file an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Justice Ouseley heard that extradition would not be in the "interests of justice" for a number of reasons, including the "high risk" that Love would kill himself.

It is unclear if agents of the United States government will appeal to the Court of Appeal or the UK Supreme Court.

They urged the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to prosecute Mr Love, who has Aspergers syndrome, in England.

Two judges sitting at the High Court in London are expected to give their decision on Mr Love's appeal later.

"We come to the conclusion that Mr Love's extradition would be oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition", ruled the judges. Love's legal team had previously emphasized that the accused should stand trial, and, if convicted, sentenced in the United Kingdom. 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.

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They appealed against a 2016 British court ruling in favour of extradition, subsequently signed off by interior minister Amber Rudd.

"I'm hoping that this outcome can contribute to the discussion we are having as a society about how to accommodate people that have neuro-diversity, whose brains are made up in a slightly different way", he said.

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.

For his part, Fitzgerald, on behalf of Love, previously told the court: "On a pragmatic level, the very fact of being taken away from England exposes him to a high risk of suicide".

"This ruling is a massive victory for free expression online", said Naomi Colvin, director of The Courage Foundation, an organisation that supports people persecuted in cases that involve issues of freedom of information.

As Home Secretary Theresa May blocked the extradition of Gary McKinnon, another hacker suffering Asperger's syndrome and depression who was judged to be a suicide risk.

Supporters argued that the systems infiltrated in #OpLastResort had publicly known vulnerabilities and that rather than doing "real harm", the bulk of costs were incurred by bringing protections up "up to the standard of security that they should have been in the first place".

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