Lauri Love 'greatly relieved' after judges block US extradition

Alleged computer hacker Lauri Love has described his relief after leading judges blocked his extradition to the US.

Speaking after a ruling by the High Court, the Asperger syndrome sufferer said: "I'm greatly relieved 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."

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Ouseley announced on Monday: "We have come to the conclusion that Mr Love's extradition would be oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition."

Mr Love, 33, who lives with his parents near Newmarket in Suffolk, said afterwards: "If this precedent can avoid someone less fortunate having to go through this ordeal then that would make it all worthwhile."

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Blocking the extradition, the two judges said: "We emphasise however that it would not be oppressive to prosecute Mr Love in England for the offences alleged against him. Far from it."

Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Ouseley said: "The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) must now bend its endeavours to his prosecution, with the assistance to be expected from the authorities in the United States, recognising the gravity of the allegations in this case, and the harm done to the victims."

They said that, if proven, "these are serious offences indeed".

Mr Love's QC, Edward Fitzgerald, had been "at pains to emphasise that Mr Love did not seek impunity for the acts alleged against him, but contended that he should be tried and, if convicted, sentenced in the United Kingdom".

The judges said: "We accept that the evidence shows that the fact of extradition would bring on severe depression, and that Mr Love would probably be determined to commit suicide, here or in America."

Lauri Love court case
Lauri Love court case

Commenting on the outcome of his appeal, Mr Love, who is studying engineering at the University of Suffolk, said: "This decision is important for the appropriate administration of criminal justice and also for the humanitarian accommodation of people whose brains work differently."

He said he was looking forward to focusing on his studies and intends to pursue a career in internet security.

He added: "This legal struggle has kind of defined my life for the past four years.

"It is good it has come to a satisfactory and a just conclusion, which expresses the values of compassion and care, but I have other things I want to do."

Authorities in America have been fighting for Mr Love to face trial on charges of cyber-hacking, which lawyers said could have meant a sentence of up to 99 years in prison if found guilty.

Mr Love, who also suffers from a depressive illness and severe eczema, is alleged to have stolen huge amounts of data from US agencies, including the Federal Reserve, the US army, the defence department, Nasa and the FBI in a spate of online attacks in 2012 and 2013.