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Barrett Brown, Rev. Love and more discuss Lauri’s case before tomorrow’s hearing

Appeal: Royal Courts of Justice, Court 4, 10:30am

#TrialAtHome posters on London bus shelters

Lauri Love’s father Rev. Alexander Love and journalist Barrett Brown spoke to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme ahead of Lauri’s appeal hearing, scheduled for tomorrow at 10:30am, about why Lauri is fighting extradition to the United States.

Rev. Love argued that the United States ought to trust the UK, its closest ally, to prosecute Lauri at home:

The Americans apparently have the right to do whatever they like, and they’re attempting to impose a Pax Americana on the whole world. Basically, Lauri would be the only person who has ever been extradited for computer hacking. Consistently, over the last few years, we have always prosecuted in this country. And if there’s a special relationship between us and America, if we are their closest ally, they should trust us to have the competence to actually deal with this matter on their behalf.

Barrett Brown, who was just last year released from federal prison after four years, explained the fundamental problems with American prisons:

The thing about the US justice system and the prison system is that it’s very easy for the British to think of it as akin to theirs, and thus relatively civilized as it is with France or the Netherlands. And though we derive a lot of our jurisprudential structure from England – so did Jamaica – the fact of the matter is this is a broken system. When I say that I’m speaking obviously from experience but I’m also simply repeating what all educated observers have said, including economists, congressmen on both the left and the right, newspapers, everyone agrees that the prison system is devoid of due process. That’s something I was able to demonstrate while I was inside.

Asked what conditions were like for him in prison, Barrett said:

Lauri, like everyone else and like me, will be subject to a lack of due process. So whatever particular difficulties arise — and there’s any number of difficulties that can arise for anyone, much less for someone who has physical or mental health problems — he will find that he his not able to challenge those conditions in the courts. So, for instance, if you don’t get your medication, which happens quite a bit, if you are thrown into the SHU [Segregated Housing Unit], in retaliation contrary to the prison’s own rules, you’ll be given a form, the form goes back to the prison, and the prison – in concert with the regional and national authorities – will stymie that process. They will violate it, over and over again, knowing full well that they can. So there’s any number of things that can go wrong for any inmate, particularly somebody who is seen as a whistleblower, seen as an activist, seen as someone who goes after the secrets of governments and challenges them, those people suffer particular retaliation. I myself spent six months total in the SHU over four years of my prison sentence, oftentimes without documentation, without the proper protocols, always in retaliation for my work as a columnist from prison and for doing interviews.

Finally, Rev. Love was asked why Lauri doesn’t want to just go to the US and accept a plea deal:

The BBC feature follows widespread coverage of Lauri Love’s case ahead of his hearing. Rev. Love, along with Courage’s Naomi Colvin, also spoke to ITV News.

Just this morning, Computer Weekly published a piece about Lauri’s talk on the WannaCry fallout at this year’s ByLine Festival, in which Love explained how and why he organised a crowd-sourced investigation of vulnerabilities.

Also at Computer Weekly, Lauri’s sister Natasha Love wrote about her fears of Lauri being extradited: “He absolutely would not be able to cope with the conditions in US prisons,” she wrote.

In the Independent, Sylvia Mann penned, “My partner Lauri Love could be saving the world from cyber attacks but instead he faces a 99-year prison sentence.” “All we are asking for, she writes, “is a trial in the UK, a trial at home. Lauri’s life is worth more than to be a casualty of the US vindictive “justice” system, another young life like Aaron [Swartz]’s with so much potential thrown away for nothing.”

Investigative reporter Andy Worthington, who has written extensively about the Guantanamo Bay prison, also published a piece in support of Lauri remaining in the UK.

There is no evidence that any harm was caused in the US, Lauri has never set foot in the US, the British government has brought no case against him in the UK, and yet, under the terms of the 2003 US-UK Extradition Treaty, the US is able to demand that he be sent to the US to be imprisoned (in isolation in a maximum-security prison) and subsequently tried (in a broken, punitive system in which huge pressure is exerted to accept a plea deal and a 10-20 year sentence rather than fight and lose and be imprisoned for life). Worryingly, Lauri Love has been openly stating that he could not bear punitive isolation in the US, and would kill himself rather than be extradited, and those closest to him do not dispute this intent.

In the New Internationalist, Ella Matthews underscores the drastic differences between US and UK prosecutions:

The US treat hackers very differently to Britain: if found guilty in England, his legal team estimate that he would spend a few months in prison; in the US, he will be at the mercy of the US justice system. Because of the harshly criticized Plea Bargain system in the US, he might not see a trial and be asked to plead guilty without one. If he refused to accept a ‘plea deal’ and is then convicted, he would face a $9 million fine and up to 99 years in prison.

In The Times, Jessie Hewitson writes, “There is still time to stop extradition of Lauri Love.”

Of course, the one person in the UK who has the most power to stop Love’s extradition is Theresa May, to whom more than 70 MPs have written, imploring the Prime Minister to intervene in Lauri’s case.

Finally, enjoy and share this excellent summary of Love’s case and the various issues involved by Potent Whisper: The Rhyming Guide to Lauri Love:

Lauri Love appeal now on 29-30 November

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.

Urgent Call: #NoLove4USGov

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.

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Lauri Love can appeal his extradition ruling

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.

Lauri said:

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.

Lauri Love’s legal team launches appeal against extradition

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.

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Home Secretary Amber Rudd approves Lauri Love’s extradition

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.”

Global coverage of MPs’ letter for Lauri Love

Daily Mail leader

Daily Mail leader

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

 

Video: ITV Anglia

Daily Mail coverage

Daily Mail coverage

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.

See reporting from Wired UK, Ars Technica UK, and Computer Weekly and the Register.