Lauri Love, the British-Finnish computer expert accused of breaking into US government computers, has won his extradition challenge at the high court.
Love faced deportation to the United States over allegations he broke into computers belonging to NASA, the Federal Reserve, and other government agencies. If convicted, he faced a potential sentence of 99 years in prison.
Love has lobbied for the right to be trialled in the UK, where he would face a less excessively punative sentence. He has questioned the fairness of any trial in the US, as he would have limited access to legal aid.
A major element of his objection to extradition was based on health grounds. Love has been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, autism, and exhibits “obsessive behaviors.”
He also suffers from severe depression, and psychologists who have examined him believe that there was a significant chance he would commit suicide if extradited to the United States.
In a statement, Emma Norton – Head of Legal Casework for Liberty, who intervened in the case – said:
“Where unlawful activity is alleged to have taken place in the UK, those suspected should be tried in the UK – not packed off to foreign courts and unfamiliar legal systems. This is especially important in cases of vulnerable people like Lauri Love.
“We are delighted that the court has today recognised Lauri’s vulnerability, close family connections to the UK and the potentially catastrophic consequences of extraditing him. This was always a case that could have been prosecuted here and it’s shameful that Lauri and his family have been put through this terrible ordeal.”
This story is developing.