If extradited, Lauri Love could face 99 years in jail
A BRITISH man accused of hacking US computers warned yesterday that he could die behind bars after the Home Office approved his extradition to the States.
Lauri Love, who has Asperger’s syndrome, could face up to 99 years in prison there.
The fear is that a jail term in the US could cause his health to deteriorate and lead to a mental breakdown or suicide.
He faces charges that he stole data from the Federal Reserve, the US Army, the Department of Defence, Nasa and the FBI in a spate of attacks in 2012 and 2013.
A Home Office spokeswoman said Home Secretary Amber Rudd had “carefully considered all relevant matters” before signing an order for his extradition on Monday.
Mr Love has 14 days to appeal against the decision.
The 31-year-old, who lives with his parents in Suffolk, said: “I’ve got to watch my mental health now and make sure I have support. We will put as much as we can into the appeal.”
He has asked to be charged and tried in Britain. He has neither denied nor admitted the charges.
His father, the Reverend Alexander Love, told the Press Association: “All we are asking for is British justice for a British citizen.”
He added: “[The extradition] was going to happen — inevitable — but it’s still painful. I cannot begin to express how much sorrow it causes me.”
Sarah Harrison, the director of the Courage Foundation, which runs Mr Love’s defence fund and campaign, said the Home Office willingly sending a British citizen to the US “beggars belief.”
She 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 US has ruthlessly persecuted hackers and digital activists for years and nobody expects that to improve under President Trump.
“PM Theresa May set a good example by protecting Gary McKinnon back in 2012.”
Ms May blocked the extradition of Mr McKinnon — an alleged hacker who also has Asperger’s — over fears that he would end his life while facing up to 70 years in prison.