NEWSFLASH: We have just heard that Lauri Love’s appeal against extradition to the US has been moved back a day. The hearing will now take place on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 November, at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London.
With less than a week before Lauri Love’s appeal against extradition to the United States is heard at the Royal Courts of Justice, campaigners are stepping up the pressure to make sure he receives a trial at home.
This is an urgent call. Two weeks from now Lauri Love will be at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, appealing against extradition to the United States and a potential 99 year prison sentence.
Lauri Love’s appeal against extradition to the United States will be heard at the High Court in a one and a half day hearing on the 28th and 29th November. The appeal will be heard in front of a full Divisional Court, but the judges have yet to be announced.
The High Court has granted Lauri Love permission to appeal against his extradition to the United States.
Liberty have also been granted permission to intervene in the appeal. A hearing date has still to be scheduled.
Every day you wake up to some good news is a blessing, and we can’t take any blessings for granted these days. Good news comes scantly between crisis and calamity. I’m thankful the High Court have recognised the strength of our grounds for appeal and the great importance of the issues raised by the case.
I’m thankful also for the ongoing support and campaigning by family and friends, amongst whom I now include the 114 MPs who signed a letter requesting jurisdiction be ceded to the UK. Now it is for the High Court to join us all in asserting the sovereignty, the values, the justice and humanity of law in the UK.
Lauri’s solicitor, Karen Todner said:
The reason permission has been granted is that the High Court acknowledge that the grounds raised some issues of great importance.
We are delighted for this news for Lauri and will continue to do everything we can to ensure prevention of his extradition to the United States of America.
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 2016, a District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ court refused to block Lauri Love’s extradition, despite accepting that he poses a real risk of suicide. Over 100 UK MPs signed a joint letter to Barack Obama in his final month in office, asking that any proceedings against Lauri be allowed to take place in the UK.
Monday 28 November was the deadline given to Lauri Love’s legal team by the British Home Secretary Amber Rudd to file their application for appeal. The initial paperwork has been submitted and the High Court is expected to deliver its decision at the start of the New Year, with an appeal hearing likely to follow in Spring 2017.
Amber Rudd’s decision to approve Lauri Love’s extradition ignored the arguments of his lawyers that extradition would present a life-threatening breach of his human rights, concerns that are shared by more than a hundred British Members of Parliament. In the wake of Rudd’s decision one of the co-authors of the letter, Barry Sheerman, said he was “deeply disappointed.”
The latest developments in Lauri’s case were, as usual, covered extremely widely over UK print and broadcast media, in terms that were sometimes themselves controversial.
Lauri himself appeared on ITV to explain that he likely not face any kind of trial in the United States, since prosecutors intend to coerce him into a plea deal, landing him in prison for years. If he were to insist on a trial, Lauri would be tried in three different US court districts consecutively, which could mean up to a century in jail.
RT broadcast interviews Lauri’s US-based attorney Tor Ekeland, his father Reverend Alexander Love, and Gary McKinnon’s mother Janis Sharp.
The Times says Lauri should not be extradited
As awareness of Lauri’s case grows, the continues to garner support across the mainstream media. On Saturday 20 November The Times became the second UK newspaper – after the Daily Mail – to come out against Lauri’s extradition. In a strongly worded editorial, the paper argued that “It is hard to understand why, having intervened in the case of Mr McKinnon, the prime minister [Theresa May] would not encourage Mrs Rudd to do likewise with Mr Love… It may be that the relevant extradition treaty to is significantly less fair to British citizens than it is to Americans and should be reconsidered or even repealed.”
Letters about Lauri’s case have now been appearing in the Times for a full week. Among those whose letters have been published are Karen Todner, Tor Ekeland, Janis Sharp, Research Autism’s Richard Mills, Courage’s own Naomi Colvin and, today, a joint letter from MPs David Burrowes and Barry Sheerman.
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.”
More than 100 MPs signed a letter calling on US President Barack Obama to withdraw the extradition requests for Lauri Love. Approximately a fifth of eligible Parliamentarians signed the letter, across the political spectrum, with 113 MPs total.
The letter drew international attention, including video coverage from the BBC and ITV, and an editorial note (right) in addition to a full story in the Daily Mail.
Lauri Love’s extradition decision currently rests with Home Secretary Amber Rudd. If she decides that extradition should go ahead, Love’s legal team can apply to appeal with the High Court, and have indicated they will take the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.
BBC Look East
First appearing in the Daily Mail, the story was quickly picked up by the BBC, ITV, the Telegraph, Sky News, Premier Radio, the wire services Press Association and Reuters, international outlets including RT, and more local press, including Yorkshire Post, Herald Scotland, and Lancashire Telegraph.
Coverage in the tech press
Given the implications of Lauri’s case’s for tech laws, from forced decryption to the American Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and digital civil disobedience, the tech press has covered it extensively.
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.