Accused hacker Lauri Love could have faced 99 years in jail if a British court had decided to hand him over to US authorities for trial.
But now Love, who has a Finnish passport, got a reprieve in the legal process, after an appeal court ruling earlier this month stopped his extradition to America.
“I am happy but tired” Love tells STT Finnish News Agency.
“I am still moderately depressed and I still had thoughts of suicide. It will take time for the depression to go away, but hopefully not too long because I should focus on my university studies which I started again” he says.
Love believes he will get his Finnish passport back if US authorities decide not to appeal the British court’s ruling.
He would like to visit his relatives in Helsinki, and plans to study or work in Finland in the future.
“I would also like to work at some point in Finland. I am now working in the private sector to improve network security, and I would like to use my skills for society” says Love.
Charges Against Lauri Love
Love is wanted in the US for allegedly hacking classified computer systems – including federal agencies – and stealing massive quantities of confidential data.
During an extradition hearing in London in summer 2016, Love’s father and mental health professionals testified that he shouldn’t be sent to America because he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and other diagnosed disorders including psychosis and depression.
Love reportedly said he would commit suicide if he was sent to America to face charges.
In autumn 2016 a British judge ruled that he should be extradited to the USA; but that decision was overturned on appeal this February.
The appeal judge considered that US prisons would be inadequate due to Love’s poor state of mental health.
“My mental health was affected by the decision. I have Asperger’s syndrome, I am anxious and depressed. My physical body is also affected. I have a rash, digestive problems and heart problems” says Lauri Love.
In Britain, some human rights activists and lawyers have said Love’s story sets a precedent that shows how future judicial process could handle such cases. Authorities in America have about a week to appeal the UK court’s latest decision.
“I hope the choose not to [challenge the appeal court ruling] and decide it’s not worth their time” says the 33-year-old.
Possible Charges In Britain
Even if Love doesn’t end up being sent to the USA, he still faces possible charges in the UK, where he lives with his parents, who help manage his mental health.
The appeal court judge decided that he could conceivably remain in the UK, but still face the American charges of computer hacking.
“I may be sentenced, but the judge doesn’t need to give a prison term, necessarily. I could get community service” he states.
Love hopes there will be a UK trail, and that he would be acquitted of the charges against him. If there is no trial, he fears the US would try to extradite him again if he traveled to another country.
“I must be found either guilty or innocent here. After that, I can continue my life again” he says.