Lauri Love: alleged hacker wins appeal against US extradition
Brit may still face UK trial over cyberattacks on US military and government agency systems
Lauri Love has won his appeal against extradition to the US on charges relating to a series of cyberattacks on US agencies including the Federal Reserve, the US army, the defence department, Nasa and the FBI - but may still be tried in the UK.
High Court judges Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and Mr Justice Duncan Ouseley allowed Love’s appeal but said in their judgment that it would “not be oppressive to prosecute Mr Love in England for the offences alleged against him. Far from it.”
The 33-year-old defendant, from Suffolk, was arrested in the UK in 2013 for offences related to the Computer Misuse Act, and faced up to 99 years in a US prison and a $9m (£6.4m) fine if found guilty, Wired reports. The US has 14 days to appeal against today’s ruling, otherwise the extradition case is “definitely over”, says Sky News.
Love’s lawyers argued that their client - diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and a depressive illness - was at risk of killing himself if sent to the US. The Crown Prosecution Service will now read the judgment and consider whether to appeal today’s decision to the UK Supreme Court, The Guardian reports.
Love told supporters that he hoped he had set a “precedent so this will not happen to people in the future”.
The ruling could have implications for WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, who fears he could be extradited to the US over leaked secret military documents. A magistrates judge will rule tomorrow on whether to drop an arrest warrant issued against Assange for jumping bail. Assange’s lawyers say he is suffering from depression after being holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than five years.
Assange tweeted his support for the Love ruling today.
Love’s case is also similar to that of Gary McKinnon, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s and was likewise spared extradition after being accused of hacking into US military computers, Bloomberg says. In 2012, then-home secretary Theresa May decided that there was a high risk of McKinnon ending his life if extradited and that it would therefore be a breach of his human rights.