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UPDATED: 114 British MPs call on Obama to stop Lauri Love’s extradition

UPDATE:

As of Wednesday 26 October, 114 British MPs have signed the letter, which will now be sent to President Obama, the US ambassador in London and his British counterpart in Washington.

With the addition of the 9 extra signatures, 42 Labour MPs, 41 Conservative MPs, 25 MPs from the SNP, 3 Lib Dem MPs and one each from the SDLP, Greens and Plaid Cymru have now declared their opposition to Lauri’s extradition.

A cross-party coalition of 105 backbench Members of Parliament have signed a letter asking US President Barack Obama to withdraw the extradition requests for British activist Lauri Love before he leaves office.

The letter, whose initial signatories were David Burrowes MP, Barry Sheerman MP and Alistair Carmichael MP, has been signed by more than a fifth of the Parliamentarians able to do so. By convention, government ministers and their opposition shadows do not sign letters of this type, although Culture Minister Matt Hancock MP – the Love family’s local constituency MP – has also added his name to the appeal.

The 105 signatories demonstrate strong opposition to Lauri Love’s extradition across the political spectrum. The letter has been signed by 39 Conservative MPs, 39 MPs from Labour, 22 MPs from the Scottish National Party, three Liberal Democrat MPs, Mark Durkin MP from the SDLP and Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Barry Sheerman, Member of Parliament for Huddersfield, said:

The fact that this letter has received such a large number of signatories from across the political parties demonstrates a real and significant concern that the forum bar, which removes the power to intervene from our Home Secretary and places it in the courts, is not functioning to protect vulnerable British citizens. Lauri is autistic and both physically and mentally unwell yet is facing a possible 99 year sentence spent in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison in the US. All those involved in this case believe he will end his own life if extradited. We are asking Barack Obama to withdraw the extradition order to allow a full prosecution here in the U.K.

Lauri Love, who has diagnoses of Asperger syndrome, severe depression and antibiotic-resistant eczema, is facing three extradition requests from separate US court districts for his alleged involvement in the online protests that followed the death of Aaron Swartz. His case forms the first substantive test of the forum bar, which Theresa May announced when blocking the extradition of Gary McKinnon, intended to protect vulnerable individuals who could be the subject of legal process in the UK instead.

On 16 September, a District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ court refused to block Lauri Love’s extradition, despite accepting that he poses a real risk of suicide, In response to the ruling, David Burrowes raised Lauri Love’s case at Prime Minister’s Questions, asking Theresa May whether the forum bar had lived up to her expectations.

Read the letter and the full list of signatories:

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