In less than two weeks, at 2pm on Friday 16 September, District Judge Nina Tempia will hand down her ruling on whether Lauri Love should be protected from extradition to the United States, where he faces a potential 99-year prison sentence.
Lauri is the subject of extradition requests from three separate US court districts for his alleged participation in #OpLastResort, the series of online protests that followed the death of Aaron Swartz. Swartz tragically took his own life in January 2013 while facing prosecution under America’s draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and extraordinary pressure to agree to a plea deal.
Over the course of a three-day hearing earlier this summer, Judge Tempia heard evidence on the inadequacy of US prison conditions, coercive plea bargaining, disproportionate sentencing and the discriminatory treatment meted out to hackers in the US justice system.
Changes in the law were made in 2013, in the wake of the Gary McKinnon case to address public concerns about extradition and the severity of conditions for vulnerable British citizens in the United States penal system. It is now up to Judge Tempia to decide whether Lauri should benefit from those protections.
Can’t make it to Westminster Magistrates’ Court? Spreading the word online makes a big difference. Keep an eye on our live tweets at @couragefound
Other things you can do:
- write to your MP to register your concerns
- make a donation to Lauri’s defence fund, to ensure we can do everything possible to fight his corner.
Read back over our coverage:
What Lauri Love would face in the US – the facts:
- Lauri is the subject of three separate extradition requests, which is highly unusual
- The allegations concern “known vulnerabilities”, which the US government could and should have been aware of.
- If convicted on all counts in all three districts, Lauri faces 99 years in a US prison. That is orders of magnitude higher than the longest sentence possible for these offences if they were prosecuted in the UK. And these kinds of offences are routinely prosecuted in the UK.
- Fighting allegations in three court districts is extremely difficult, time consuming and expensive. Lauri would find himself under extraordinary pressure to agree to a plea deal.
- There is no chance Lauri would be granted bail in the US while awaiting trial. Denial of bail has resulted in other Courage beneficiaries being unable to participate fully in the preparation of their legal defence.
- Prisoner transfer arrangements between the UK and the US depend on the recommendation of the US prosecutor. There is no reason to believe that Lauri would be able to serve any sentence in the UK.
- Lauri has Asperger’s Syndrome, major depression and severe eczema. He would not receive adequate medical treatment in the US prison system and separation from his family would have a completely devastating impact on his physical and emotional well being.
- The only “treatment” Lauri is likely to be able to expect is extended periods on suicide watch, which would exacerbate his symptoms.
- If extradited to the US, Lauri would likely not be in a fit state to stand trial. It is entirely possible he would not even be alive to stand trial.