Published: Wed, February 07, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

United Kingdom judges block USA extradition of alleged hacker Lauri Love

United Kingdom judges block USA extradition of alleged hacker Lauri Love

After the ruling, Love noted that this could impact future cases of individuals in similar circumstances, and the link above quotes some lawyers suggesting that it's going to be much more hard for the USA to extradite people for computer crimes going forward.

"But we are satisfied, in the particular combination of circumstances here, that it would be oppressive to extradite Mr Love".

The ruling came down today after Love's attorneys argued that he suffered from depression and was at risk of dying by suicide if he were placed in solitary confinement in the United States, a disciplinary tactic seen by most of the developed world as torture.

"We come to the conclusion that Mr Love's extradition would be oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition", two High Court judges wrote in their ruling on his appeal.

Welcoming the judgment, Emma Norton, head of legal casework at Liberty which intervened in the case, said: "We are delighted that the court has today recognised Lauri's vulnerability, close family connections to the United Kingdom and the potentially catastrophic consequences of extraditing him".

USA officials had requested Love's extradition on cyber-hacking charges for allegedly compromising government networks between October 2012 and October 2013 and stealing data.

Lauri Love, who has joint British and Finnish citizenship, is accused by the USA of hacking into government websites. "And if I get a 99-year sentence, it's an absurd length of time, meaning I would die in prison anyway".

Emerging from the court, Mr Love said: "This is not just for myself".

In the Lauri Love case, the situation went somewhat differently.

A judge ordered his extradition following a request from the USA, leading to Home Secretary Amber Rudd signing an extradition order in 2016.

However he advised the Crown Prosecution Service to proceed with prosecuting Mr Love in England.

The court said: "The CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] must now bend its endeavours to his prosecution, with the assistance to be expected from the authorities in the United States, recognising the gravity of the allegations in this case, and the harm done to the victims".

They said that, if proven, "these are serious offences indeed".

"I am greatly relieved that I am no longer facing the prospect of being locked up for potentially the rest of my life in a country I have never visited", he said following the ruling.

But the extradition request was blocked on Monday. His legal case sets a precedent that could be relevant to future extradition cases, because it is the first successful use of a legal provision called the "forum bar" which allows British judges to block extradition if it is not in the interests of justice.

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