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NASA hacker Lauri Love wins appeal against extradition to the US

Online activist Lauri Love has won his extradition battle to avoid extradition to the US to face charges of hacking into the computers of NASA, the US Army, the Federal Reserve and the Missile Defense Agency following a High Court ruling today.

Love faced a prison sentence of up to 99 years if he were extradited and found guilty in US courts. 

Lawyers for 32-year-old Love, who suffers from autism, had argued that he should be tried over the allegations in the UK and added that he would be at risk of killing himself if extradited to the US. Love also claims to suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, anxiety, depression and “obsessive behaviours”, according to his lawyers. 

But today the UK’s Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that Love should not be extradited to the US to stand trial, on the grounds that it would not be in the “interests of justice” for a number of reasons, including the “high risk” that he would kill himself.

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

However, they added it would “not be oppressive” to “prosecute Mr Love in England for the offences”.

Emma Norton, head of Legal Casework for Liberty, was involved in the case. She 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.” 

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