Theresa May’s successor as Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has approved Lauri Love’s extradition to the United States. Love’s legal team now has 14 days to prepare his application to appeal.
Love, who has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and severe depression, faces three extradition requests from separate US court districts for his alleged participation in #OpLastResort, the online protests that followed the persecution and untimely death of Aaron Swartz.
Should the application to appeal be granted, Love’s appeal will be heard in Spring 2017, with possible further appeals to the UK’s Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
Love’s case is widely regarded to be the first substantive test of the forum bar announced by Theresa May when she blocked Gary McKinnon’s extradition in 2012. Last month David Burrowes MP raised the case at Prime Minister’s Questions, asking the Prime Minister whether the forum bar was working as she anticipated.
Sarah Harrison, Acting Director for Courage, said:
I am dismayed to hear that Lauri Love’s extradition request has been approved, as this puts him directly in harm’s way and fails to protect his human rights. The Home Secretary’s decision upholds a one-sided extradition treaty that leaves UK citizens without proper protections against the threat of US prosecution.
The US has ruthlessly persecuted hackers and digital activists for years, and nobody expects that to improve under President Trump. Theresa May set a good example by protecting Gary McKinnon back in 2012. For a Home Secretary in her government now to willingly send a brilliant and vulnerable UK citizen to Donald Trump’s America beggars belief.
I understand that Lauri Love’s legal team will now be preparing their application for appeal. Courage will continue to support Lauri until his safety is assured.
Lauri Love’s legal team had made representations to the Home Secretary prior to her decision, arguing against extradition on human rights grounds, noting that not only had District Judge Nina Tempia accepted that Lauri Love presents a “severe”, “substantial” and “high” risk of suicide back in September, these concerns are shared by 114 Members of Parliament, who have signed a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to rescind Lauri Love’s extradition warrant.
In their representations, Lauri’s legal team had noted that diplomatic approaches are not unheard of in extradition cases. The Home Office has responded to these concerns by stating that the Home Secretary has no discretion to respond and that “these are matters for the courts.”