The long-running court saga of Lauri Love, a British hacker and activist accused of compromising and stealing data from the likes of the FBI, NASA and the US Federal Reserve has been ordered by the UK’s home secretary for his extradition to the United States.
31-year-old Love who has Asperger’s syndrome launched a legal challenge to avoid his extradition to the U.S., following a court ruling by a UK judge in September 2016. Love, who suffers from depression and eczema argued against the extradition ruling, claiming it could lead him to a mental breakdown or suicide. Despite his plea, the ruling district judge, Nina Tempia, determined that Love would be cared for by medical facilities in the United States, while accepting that Love suffered “both physical and mental issues.”
On the other side of the pond, Love potentially faces legal proceedings in three different US jurisdictions, reports the Guardian. Meanwhile, the UK home secretary had been given a deadline of November 16, in order to decide if Love was to be extradited or not. A day before the deadline, Rudd signed the order for Love’s extradition to the US. His lawyers believe he faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted of charges related to hacking.
The UK Home Office stated that Rudd had “carefully considered all relevant matters” before ruling:
[Love] has been charged with various computer hacking offences which included targeting US military and federal government agencies.
The case drew parallels to that of Gary McKinnon, a British hacker whose extradition to the US was blocked by Theresa May in 2012, as the home secretary at the time.
Love’s legal battle with the ruling garnered support from The Courage Foundation, whose acting director Sarah Harrison stated:
The US has ruthlessly persecuted hackers and digital activists for years, and nobody expects that to improve under President Trump. Theresa May set a good example by protecting Gary McKinnon back in 2012. For a home secretary in her government now to willingly send a brilliant and vulnerable UK citizen to Donald Trump’s America beggars belief.
Love was bailed earlier this year in June when US prosecutors were already doing plenty to extradite him stateside.
Lori’s alleged hacking endeavors were a part of #Oplastresort, an operation by Anonymous, the global hacktivist collective. This particular operation was in response to the treatment endured by Aaron Swartz a prominent programmer and hacktivist. Swartz faced 35 years In prison, asset forfeiture and a million dollars in fines with two counts of wire fraud. Swartz committed suicide for his alleged computer crimes.
Love’s legal defense is certain to bring up the unfortunate series of events that led to Swartz committing suicide under the threat of persecution. Love has 14 days to appeal against Rudd’s order and will almost certainly do so.
Images from YouTube/AP.