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Student accused of hacking won't be extradited to US

Former Glasgow University student Lauri Love would have faced 99 years in American jail.

Lauri Love: Cheers in the courtroom as ruling made.
Lauri Love: Cheers in the courtroom as ruling made. Lauren Hurley / PA Wire

A former Glasgow University student accused of computer hacking has won his appeal against extradition to the US.

Two judges sitting at the High Court in London ruled in Lauri Love's favour on Monday - a decision greeted by a loud cheer in the packed courtroom.

Mr Love, 32, who lives with his parents near Newmarket in Suffolk, was present in court to hear the announcement by Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Ouseley.

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

The judges heard argument on his behalf during a hearing in November that extradition would not be in the "interests of justice" for a number of reasons, including the "high risk" that Mr Love, who suffers from Asperger syndrome, would take his own life.

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.

'It has also been recognised that mental health provisions in US prisons are not adequate to satisfy us that Lauri would not have come to serious harm if he were extradited.'
Lauri Love's solicitors

His father, the Reverend Alexander Love, has said his son "fears for his life" because he did not think he could cope with the trauma of being sent to the US.

A spokesman for Mr Love's solicitors, Kaim Todner, said the firm was "delighted" with the result.

He added: "What is particularly important about this case is that the British justice system has taken the stance that we should deal with the matter ourselves, rather than accept the US government's demands.

"It has also been recognised that mental health provisions in US prisons are not adequate to satisfy us that Lauri would not have come to serious harm if he were extradited.

"In this instance, the court was very sympathetic to our argument that there was no real reason that a trial could not take place in England, and that the effects on Lauri's mental and physical health would render extradition highly oppressive.

"This deterioration in health was likely to have meant that he would not have been fit to stand trial and that, therefore, extradition would not have been in anyone's interests, least of all those of the alleged victims."

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