UK CITIZEN and online activist Lauri Love will not be extradited to the US to face hacking charges, the High Court ruled on Monday.
Love faced extradition to the US over allegations he broke into computers belonging to NASA, the Federal Reserve, the US Department of Defence and other US government agencies. If convicted, he faced a potential sentence of 99 years in prison.
We have been here before with Gary McKinnon, and we know what a painful and long drawn out affair that was for him and his family.
Lawyers for 32-year-old Love, who suffers from autism, had argued that he should be tried for his alleged crimes in the UK and that he would be at risk of killing himself if sent to the US. Love also suffered from Asperger's syndrome, anxiety, depression and "obsessive behaviours".
On Monday, the UK's Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Ouseley said that Love should not be extradited to the US to stand trial, saying it would not be in the "interests of justice" for a number of reasons, including the "high risk" that he would kill himself.
However, they said it would "not be oppressive" to "prosecute Mr Love in England for the offences".
Emma Norton, head of Legal Casework for Liberty, who intervened in the case, applauded the ruling.
"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 countries and unfamiliar legal systems. This is especially important in cases of vulnerable people like Lauri Love," she said.
"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 a case that could have been prosecuted here and it's shameful that Lauri and his family have been put through this terrible ordeal." µ
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