Extradition of 'hacker’ Lauri Love to US will not take place, judge rules (VIDEO)
An order to extradite him should be quashed, the Lord Chief Justice added. The court erupted in applause when the judgment was handed down.
Love, who suffers from Asperger syndrome, eczema, asthma, and depression, had his appeal case heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in November.
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.
The 32-year-old British-Finlander, who lives with his parents near Newmarket in Suffolk, was accused of carrying out a “series of cyber attacks against the websites and computer systems” of a raft of US government agencies and private firms. They include a spate of attacks on the Federal Reserve, the US Army, the Department of Defense, NASA, and the FBI between 2012 and 2013.
Love, who denies any wrongdoing, risks a 99-year jail sentence if he faces trial in the US. It is understood the US is using the lengthy sentence in order to get a guilty plea out of him in exchange for a considerably lighter sentence.
Speaking to the BBC on Monday before the judgment was handed down, Love's father the Rev Alexander Love said: "[Lauri's] very distressed, he's obviously afraid because he has stated on more than one occasion he fears for his life because he doesn't think he could cope with the trauma of being taken away from his family and country, and taken in exile to America."
The Rev Love said he was concerned his son would not get the support he needed if he was jailed in the US, adding "the mental health provision in American prisons, from what I have read, is woefully inadequate compared to ours.”
Many followers of the @laurilove extradition case believes that the pressure by #US to extradite Love 💕 is a cruel calculated circus to scare and intimidate. What do you think? pic.twitter.com/xBBhWQ1TuO— Niels Ladefoged (@NielsLadefoged) February 5, 2018
Lauri Love's supporters have begun to set up banners outside of the Royal Courts of Justice. There is already a small crowd here despite the early hour and the surprising cold. pic.twitter.com/sq6sNYyWbO— Alexander J. Martin (@AJMartinSky) February 5, 2018
In September 2016 a district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that Love could be extradited. The High Court appeal centred on that ruling made by District Judge Nina Tempia.
Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Love, submitted that there were “overwhelming reasons of justice and humanity” why any trial should take place in the UK. He argued that it would be “unjust and oppressive” to extradite him because of his severe mental disorders.
Peter Caldwell, representing the US, made submissions inviting the judges to dismiss Love’s appeal.
In written argument he said the district judge’s conclusion on extradition was “reasonably open to her on the findings of fact she made.”
Having identified a high risk of suicide, she “properly assessed whether and how that risk could be managed were the appellant to be extradited.”
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