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Theresa May told that Lauri Love “faces a death sentence”

Lauri Love’s case has now been raised directly with the Prime Minister, Theresa May, who as Home Secretary blocked Gary McKinnon’s extradition to the United States.

David Burrowes MP, who was Gary McKinnon’s local MP during his extradition battle, used the biggest platform in the Parliamentary week, Prime Minister’s Questions, to ask Theresa May whether the forum bar introduced as a result of the McKinnon case had fulfilled her expectations:

“A young man with Asperger syndrome awaits extradition to the United States facing charges of computer hacking and is very likely to kill himself. It sounds familiar.

“He is not, of course, Gary McKinnon, who was saved by the Prime Minister but Lauri Love who faces, in effect, a death sentence.

“So when the Prime Minister introduced the forum bar, which introduced – in her words – “greater safeguards for individuals”, surely she expected it to protect the vulnerable? Like Gary McKinnon, like Lauri Love.”

In her response, Theresa May largely avoided answering that question, but did note that the Home Secretary remains part of the “legal process”. [1]

Lauri Love meets MPs

Barry Sheerman MP, Lauri Love, Heidi Allen MP, David Burrowes MP and Cheryl Gillen MP at Tuesday's meeting

Barry Sheerman MP, Lauri Love, Heidi Allen MP, David Burrowes MP and Cheryl Gillan MP at Tuesday’s meeting

On Tuesday evening, Lauri Love, his father and legal team met MPs at a meeting at Portcullis House called by David Burrowes to discuss plans for helping Lauri in Parliament. Barry Sheerman MP, Cheryl Gillan MP – who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism – and Heidi Allen MP attended in person, alongside representatives from the National Autistic Society, Liberty and the Westminster Autism Commission. Lauri’s local MP Matt Hancock and Ann Clwyd MP also sent representatives to the meeting.

Ten reasons why our son should not be extradited

Lauri’s parents Alexander and Sirkka Love are two of his most eloquent advocates. Today, Courage is publishing a piece written by them, in response to requests from friends and neighbours, which gives their “10 reasons why Lauri Love should not be extradited.” In it, they explain in clear terms why justice would be better served in the UK:

“Lauri could be tried in the UK. A change was introduced to the Extradition Act in 2013 that allows the judge to rule that it would be in the interests of justice to try the person in the UK instead. Surely it is “in the interest of justice” that Lauri lives and faces the consequences of his alleged actions in front of a jury of his peers, in his home country where he can be supported through his trial and possible punishment by his family and friends. How would justice be served by Lauri returning from the States in a body bag?”

Now that there are plans being made to help Lauri Love in Parliament, getting broad support for those efforts, on a nationwide and cross-party basis, is incredibly important.

Writing to your MP is still one of the most effective things you can do to help Lauri Love; Lauri’s parents hope that their “Ten Reasons” will help others formulate their letters.

Gary McKinnon: “The effect of extradition is corrosive”

Gary McKinnon, whose successful ten year battle against extradition prompted the introduction of the forum bar, has written a piece for Computer Weekly with his own account of why Lauri should not be extradited from the United States. In the article, published this morning, McKinnon, who rarely makes public statements, explains the psychological abd emotional impact of living with the threat of extradition for years:

The effect of extradition is corrosive. Speaking from my own experience, the incessant worrying eats away at your nerves. The possibility of spending decades, possibly the rest of your life, in a foreign jail always haunts you.

You develop your own form of madness. It’s a nightmare that wages a war of attrition on your already damaged mental health. And one of the worst things is watching the destructive effect it has on your family.

I made up my mind that I couldn’t go to the US if I lost the case. I bought enough potassium chloride – the third chemical in the trio of lethal injections used in US executions – to stop my heart. I knew that otherwise I would be put under pressure to plead guilty and threatened with a disproportionate jail sentence if I did not agree.

We are just under two weeks away from the anniversary of Lauri’s initial arrest by the NCA on 25 October 2013. That means that Lauri and his family have now been living under the threat of extradition for three years.

London Campaign meeting this Sunday

Outraged by last month’s extradition ruling? Want to do something to help Lauri Love? Wondering where to start?

Courage is holding a London meeting at Sunday 16 October for all of Lauri’s supporters to share resources and ideas on next moves to protect Lauri from extradition. We have a room at Ye Olde Cock Tavern at 22 Fleet Street from 3pm onward.

We’ll have stickers and flyers to distribute and a full update on developments since the extradition ruling last month. This meeting is open to everyone – please invite anyone you think might be interested.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1050371578416479/

[1] Theresa May’s full response:

Theresa May MP

My honourable friend obviously campaigned long and hard for Gary McKinnon and obviously I took that decision because at that time it was a decision for the Home Secretary to decide if there was a human rights case for an individual not to be extradited.

We subsequently changed the legal position on that, so it is now a matter for the courts. There are certain parameters that the courts look at in terms of the extradition decision and that is then passed to the Home Secretary. It is for the courts to determine the human rights aspects of any case that comes forward.

It was right, I think, to introduce the forum bar to make sure there was that challenge for cases here in the United Kingdom, as to whether they should be held here in the United Kingdom, but the legal process is very clear and the Home Secretary is part of that legal process.