Federal Bureau of Investigation hacking suspect Lauri Love is former Glasgow student

Posted February 08, 2018

Lauri Love, a British student, was indicted on charges [JURIST report] of hacking into U.S. government websites in 2013, along with other unnamed co-conspirators, stealing huge amounts of data.

An autistic British man accused of hacking into US government agencies won his appeal against extradition to the United States on Monday but was told he should be prosecuted in Britain instead.

Love, who denies any wrongdoing, risks a 99-year jail sentence if he faces trial in the US.

Lawyers for the 32-year-old, who lives in Suffolk, had argued that he should be tried for his alleged crimes in the United Kingdom and that he would be at risk of killing himself if sent to the US. Twelve months later, the UK's Crown Prosecution Service quietly announced that he had been released from bail.

"I am greatly relieved that I am no longer facing the prospect of being locked up for potentially the rest of my life in a country I have never visited", Love said following Monday's ruling.

Love's lawyers appealed the extradition decision, arguing that Love, a 31-year-old with Asperger's, was suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts.

One of the attacks was launched from a computer server in or around Romania, which prosecutors said was leased by Love.

The Appeal Court ruling indicates that that is what should now happen.

"We emphasise, however, that it would not be oppressive to prosecute Mr Love in England for the offences alleged against him", it wrote.

Peter Caldwell, representing the USA, made submissions inviting the judges to dismiss Love's appeal.

Naomi Colvin, Love's case director at the Courage Foundation, which is providing Love with legal support, said: "This is the result Lauri and his family have spent four years waiting for". This ruling is a massive victory for free expression online, for the fair treatment of neurodiverse people and for those of us who have drawn attention to the dire treatment of hackers and information activists in the United States.

"There is an ongoing problem with people with autism in the justice system - they have actually been debating it in Westminster Hall".

But the Court of Appeal ruled extradition would be "oppressive" because of his physical and mental condition.

She identified a high risk of suicide but did not bar the move, on the condition that it could be managed in American facilities.

As Home Secretary Theresa May blocked the extradition of Gary McKinnon, another hacker suffering Asperger's syndrome and depression who was judged to be a suicide risk.

Many of O'Dwyer's supporters argued that he should not face charges under US copyright laws for offenses that were not illegal in the UK.

Following a hearing held in the summer of 2016, Love's legal team made its final arguments against extradition in November 2017.