Monday, 24 September, 2018

Accused hacker wins extradition appeal

Lauri Love has won his legal battle Lauri Love has won his legal battle Credit Lauren Hurley PA Wire
Faye Gross | 08 February, 2018, 12:20

Alleged computer hacker Lauri Love today won his High Court appeal against extradition to the US to answer to charges of hacking into the computer systems of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Central Bank and NASA, among others.

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".

The decision in his favor today was greeted with cheers in the courtroom.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Love, submitted that there were "overwhelming reasons of justice and humanity" why any trial should take place in the UK.

Love was also alleged to have hacked into two private firms, Deltek and Forte Interactive.

In written argument he said the district judge's conclusion on extradition was "reasonably open to her on the findings of fact she made".

Love's lawyers argued that he should be tried for his alleged crimes in the United Kingdom, and that he would be at risk of killing himself in the US. Both grounds were successful in today's judgment.

U.S. authorities said Love was one of the most active hackers who participated in #OpLastResort, a hacktivist campaign carried out by the Anonymous collective in 2012 and 2013 as payback against the United States government, which they perceived as guilty for the suicide of Aaron Schwartz.

McKinnon lost his extradition trial and a number of appeals. His lawyers argued that extraditing him to the United States, where he could eventually face up to 99 years in prison on hacking charges, would create a high risk of his committing suicide.

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

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Love lives in Suffolk with his parents. Love filed an appeal to Rudd's order the same month, which concluded with today's appeal ruling.

A lower court in London had approved his extradition in 2016 despite warnings from his family, lawyers and supporters about the state of his mental health.

Like Love he was suspected of multiple hacking offences and was seen as a high suicide risk due to suffering from Aspergers and depression. If he's dead, putting it bluntly, no victims are going to get anything from a trial.

16 July 2015: Mr Love is by the Met Police executing an extradition warrant on behalf of the US. I genuinely believe he means it.

Mr Love's father said his son "fears for his life" before the ruling was handed down. The professor was the first professional to diagnose Love's Asperger's syndrome.

Love's case was taken up by the Courage Foundation, which supports people who risk their liberty in attempts to make information public.

"I am absolutely thrilled for Lauri, his family, friends, his legal team and all the supporters who have worked so hard to bring us to this point". Inside, the justices expressed their disapproval after members in the audience clapped and cheered in response to their ruling.

Love said he hopes it will provide a strong precedent.

It is also still possible for the CPS - which would act on behalf of USA authorities - to take the case to the Supreme Court in a continued fight for extradition from the UK.

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