Lauri Love’s appeal against extradition to the United States will be heard at the High Court in a one and a half day hearing on the 28th and 29th November. It will be heard in front of a full Divisional Court, but the judges have yet to be announced.
Lauri Love is facing extradition requests from three separate US court districts and a potential 99 year prison sentence for hacking the IT infrastructure of various US institutions including the Federal Reserve, NASA and the Department of Defense.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd approved the extradition request, despite a very similar case back in 2012, the attempted extradition of Gary McKinnon to the US, being blocked by the current Prime Minister Theresa May.
His partner in the cyberattacks, Justin Michael Soyke, who went under the handles “Juzzy” or “Absantos” and allegedly administered the Twitter account @op_Australia, was allowed to be tried in his native Australia after the US did not seek his extradition.
114 British MPS wrote to then-President Barack Obama last October requesting that Love should face ‘British justice, as a British citizen.’ However, the extradition request was not overturned. Very much out of character, President Donald Trump has not publicly commented on the Lauri Love case, and there is no suggestion that he intends to diverge from Obama’s intention of making an example out of Love.
The Lauri Love case is by no means unique; over 29 other British citizens have been charged with hacking American networks over the last 20 years, and all of them were prosecuted in the UK.
So why are the US intent on singling-out this Asperger’s sufferer who insists he will take his own life if he forced into extradition?
Unfortunately for Love, his reluctant ascent to the status of cyber-activist icon is most likely what is provoking America’s startlingly aggressive push to diplomatically kidnap him.
Humiliated by Snowden and Manning’s revelations of the filthy cogs of the US military and intelligence machine, Obama’s, and now Trump’s White House are insisting on ramming home the message that those who attempt to undermine the deep state will be punished beyond comprehension.
Love’s accomplice in the hacking, Justin Michael Soyke, is a paranoid and deeply private person who has lived his whole life under internet pseudonyms. The US showed very little interest in him.
Love, on the other hand, is an activist, and an all-round fascinating figure who has captivated the public. A sufferer of serious mental health issues, he overcame them to attract media attention for his protests against austerity measures by the Conservative government. A dual-citizen of Finland and the UK, he served a short stint in the Finnish army before becoming a conscientious objector from Finland’s national service duties.
Unwittingly, he gained notoriety, and the US have decided to make an example out of him.
They don’t care about negative public perception, Washington are determined to petrify would-be Assanges or Snowdens. And Love, in this case, is the sacrificial lamb.
I wish him the best of luck, but I fear his chances.
Leak of Nations | Lauri Love