Judge Rules to Extradite Alleged UK Hacker Lauri Love
Love is accused of hacking US systems but says he will appeal the extradition decision.
Lauri Love before the ruling. Image: Kevin E G Perry
Lauri Love will be extradited to the US to face charges related to his alleged involvement in #OpLastResult, a UK judge has ruled today.
Speaking at Westminster Magistrates' Court this afternoon, Judge Nina Tempia said: "I will be extraditing Mr Love, by which I mean I will be passing the case to the Secretary of State."
The ruling, which lasted under five minutes, was attended by Love, his parents, and around 40 supporters. Leaving court, some of his supporters derided the decision, shouting: "Bullshit, kangaroo court!"
Love, a 31-year-old electrical engineering student, is set to face three separate trials in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. #OpLastResort was a series of online protests that followed the death of Aaron Swartz in early 2013. Love is accused of hacking US systems including some belonging to NASA and the FBI and could face a prison sentence of up to 99 years in the US.
"It's unfortunate for me and my family that we have to go through another six months or a year of legal stuff"
Love was advised that he has a 14-day leave to appeal, which would see the case go to the High Court. Outside court, Love's legal team confirmed they would be lodging an appeal.
Love himself said, "I'm not going to comment too much, because I haven't read [the full ruling], and I have to. I want to thank everyone for their support, and to thank the judge for giving us the opportunity to win at a higher court and set a stronger precedent. I think this only helps the cause of supporting better justice, but it's unfortunate for me and my family that we have to go through another six months or a year of legal stuff, but it's what we have to do."
The ruling in USA v. Love formed the first substantive test of the "forum bar" introduced in the wake of then-Home Secretary Theresa May's decision to block the extradition of hacker Gary McKinnon in 2012. The forum bar gives judges more room to decide whether a case should be tried in the UK instead of the US.
Sarah Harrison, director of the Courage Foundation, which runs Lauri Love's defence fund and support campaign, responded to the news in a statement: "This is a very disappointing ruling, not just for Lauri and his family but for everyone who was angry about what happened to Gary McKinnon. Clear assurances were given that legal changes would prevent the McKinnon situation from happening again and frankly, if the forum bar can't help Lauri Love, it's very difficult to understand how it could ever help anyone. This is not what the public was led to believe at the time and it's not something we should stand for."
"I know that Lauri's legal team will apply to appeal this ruling, and the Courage Foundation will continue to support Lauri until his safety is assured," she said.
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