Rudd signs order to extradite Briton to US on hacking charges

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Home Secretary Amber Rudd has authorised the extradition of Lauri Love to the US, where he is accused of computer hacking offences, the Home Office has said. 

Love, who has Asperger syndrome, is alleged to have stolen huge amounts of data from US agencies including the Federal Reserve, the US Army, the Department of Defence, Nasa and the FBI, in a spate of online attacks in 2012 and 2013.

US authorities have been fighting for the 31-year-old, who lives with his parents near Newmarket in Suffolk, to face trial over charges of cyber-hacking, which his lawyers say could mean a sentence of up to 99 years in prison if he is found guilty.

A Home Office spokesman said: "On Monday 14 November, the Secretary of State, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed an order for Lauri Love's extradition to the United States.

"Mr Love has been charged with various computer hacking offences which included targeting US military and federal government agencies."

District Judge Nina Tempia ruled that Mr Love could be extradited during a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 16. 

Following the ruling, Mrs Rudd had two months to order the extradition of Mr Love, who could face the possibility of three separate trials in different jurisdictions. 

Mr Love, who also suffers from depression and eczema, has said that a jail term in the US could cause his health to deteriorate and would lead to a mental breakdown or suicide.

It is alleged that between October 2012 and October 2013, Mr Love placed hidden "shells" or "backdoors" within the networks he compromised, allowing them to return and steal confidential data.

He is accused of causing "millions of dollars" worth of damage.

Mr Love is expected to appeal against the decision. 

Responding to the announcement, the Rev Alexander Love, Mr Love's father, told the Press Association: "It was going to happen - it was inevitable - but it's still painful. I cannot begin to express how much sorrow it causes me."

He added: "All we are asking for is British justice for a British citizen."

Barry Sheerman, one of the more than 100 MPs who have signed a letter calling on US President Barack Obama to block Mr Love's extradition, said he was "deeply disappointed" at the decision.

The Labour MP for Huddersfield said: "We are still keeping up the pressure. We are getting more and more MPs to sign the letter to President Obama."

 

He said he is "deeply disappointed" at the decision, adding: "The pressure continues, we won't give up."