EnlargeThe Courage Foundation
reader comments 24
Share this story
This week, culture minister Matt Hancock and more than 100 fellow MPs (Members of Parliament) have signed a letter calling on president Barack Obama to block Lauri Love’s extradition to the US to face trial over the alleged hacking of the US missile defence agency, the FBI, and America’s central bank.
Love—an Asperger’s syndrome sufferer from Stradishall, Suffolk—was told in September at a Westminster Magistrates’ Court hearing that he was fit to be extradited to the US to face trial in that country.
The 31-year-old faces up to 99 years in prison in the US if convicted.
According to his lawyers, Love has said he fears for his life.
Hacking allegations against Love stem from the Anonymous-related #OpLastResort hack in 2013.
The initiative targeted the US Army, the US Federal Reserve, the FBI, NASA, and the Missile Defense Agency in retaliation over the tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz as the hacktivist infamously awaited trial. Love is accused of participating through SQL injection attacks,
Love’s legal team have argued that their client’s case is similar to that of British citizen Gary McKinnon, whose extradition to the US was blocked in 2012 by then home secretary Theresa May.
At the time, May introduced a forum bar to stop extradition in cases where the defendants’ human rights were said to be at risk.
Hancock, who is the Love family’s local MP, signed the letter alongside a cross-party coalition of 104 other politicos.
The missive to Obama asks:
The UK has prosecuted at least twelve computer hackers who have hacked US-based computer systems.
Indeed, Mr Love would be the first UK-based computer hacker to be extradited and denied the opportunity to face a full prosecution in the UK.
The UK criminal justice system is equipped to bring justice through sentencing and rehabilitating people who are adjudged to have committed these crimes.
Many of these twelve cases did not involve individuals who have significant mental health issues, nor Asperger Syndrome and were not at a high-risk of suicide, yet they were not extradited. We would like to ask, why then is the United States insistent on Mr Love’s extradition despite the UK having a proven track record of appropriately sentencing and rehabilitating individuals who have committed computer hacking offences against the US?
The MPs seek an “act of compassion” from the US president by urging him in his final days of office to personally intervene in the case, kill the extradition order, and allow it to be heard in the UK.
“You would be acting to prevent this vulnerable and mentally unwell man from being placed in a situation where he will most probably take his own life,” the letter states.
Prime minister May—when recently quizzed in parliament by McKinnon campaigner and MP David Burrowes—said of the forum bar: “We subsequently changed the legal position on that, so it is now a matter for the courts.
There are certain parameters that the courts look at in terms of the extradition decision and that is then passed to the home secretary.
It is for the courts to determine the human rights aspects of any case that comes forward.”
She added: “It was right, I think, to introduce the forum bar to make sure there was that challenge for cases here in the United Kingdom, as to whether they should be held here in the United Kingdom, but the legal process is very clear and the home secretary is part of that legal process.”
This post originated on Ars Technica UK