Hacking suspect Lauri Love wins extradition appeal

British Hacker Won't Be Extradited To The US Because American Prisons Are 'Medieval'

British Hacker Won't Be Extradited To The US Because American Prisons Are 'Medieval'

The Court of Appeal heard 33-year-old Lauri Love has severe mental health issues and was at a "very high risk" of committing suicide if he was sent to the United States to face charges. 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. The alleged hacker will be tried in Great Britain and is now free on bail.

The court accepted both of the main arguments advanced by Love's lawyers that there was no reason he could not be tried in England and that he might suffer serious damage to his health if he were extradited.

An American expert in the case plainly stated that if Love were sent to America, "his ability to make decisions would be severely compromised", given the brutality of U.S. jails.

There was no reason that Mr Love, who has Asperger's syndrome, should not be prosecuted in the United Kingdom rather than the U.S., the judgment added.

They appealed against a 2016 British court ruling in favour of extradition, subsequently signed off by interior minister Amber Rudd. The lower court had ruled that the forum bar did not apply in Love's case, but the High Court judges said that it did.

Mr Love's lawyer, Mr Edward Fitzgerald QC, told the Court of Appeal the defence was not seeking immunity from justice, but said if Mr Love was sent to the U.S. there was a significant risk he would not be fit to be tried.

In their ruling, the High Court judges raised the possibility that Love could be put on trial in England, saying that that wouldn't be considered "oppressive" and that he would be much less of a suicide risk if imprisoned in England because he would be close to his family and loves ones.

"We're not fighting for impunity".


Before the judgment was handed down he tweeted: "Whatever happens today we will have something to celebrate", adding "but let (us) hope and will that we have plenty to celebrate".

But America may still try to force his extradition through.

"We can't really comment on the likelihood of that happening", said Kevin Kendridge, head of extradition at Kaim Todner.

A spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice said it was reviewing the judgement and had no further comment.

But the extradition request was blocked on Monday.

That includes the case of Kane Gamble, a teenager who admitted a year ago to trying to hack into the computers of top USA officials, including former Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan, from his home in the East Midlands region of England.

But Love could still be charged in the United Kingdom, the court said.

"But I believe because we have won this victory we can look back on it and say it was worthwhile".

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