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Amber Rudd urged to block extradition of autistic man accused of US hacking

Published 17/09/2016

Lauri Love is accused of hacking into US Government computers
Lauri Love is accused of hacking into US Government computers

Home Secretary Amber Rudd should "urgently intervene" and stop the extradition of an autistic man accused of hacking into US computers, the Liberal Democrats have said.

The UK should not "put helping America to save face" ahead of the well-being of its citizens, the party warned, after District Judge Nina Tempia ruled on Friday that Lauri Love could be extradited to the US to stand trial.

Mr Love, who has Asperger's syndrome, is alleged to have stolen huge amounts of data from US agencies including the Federal Reserve, the US Army, the Department of Defence, Nasa and the FBI, in a spate of online attacks in 2012 and 2013.

US authorities have been fighting for the 31-year-old to face trial over charges of cyber-hacking, which his lawyers say could mean a sentence of up to 99 years in prison if he is found guilty.

Mr Love, who also suffers from depression and severe eczema, has said a jail term in the US would cause his health to deteriorate and would lead to a mental breakdown or suicide.

The case has echoes of that of Gary McKinnon, another alleged cyber-hacker with Asperger's, who eventually had his extradition blocked by former Home Secretary Theresa May after a decade-long battle.

Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "Amber Rudd must follow her predecessor and urgently intervene in the case of Lauri Love to stop this planned extradition.

"This case must not be allowed to drag on like Gary McKinnnon's. The UK should not put helping America to save face ahead of the safety and well-being of its citizens."

Ms Rudd will have until November 15 to decide whether to extradite Mr Love, who lives with his parents near Newmarket in Suffolk.

If extradited, he could face the possibility of three separate trials in different jurisdictions.

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