Appeal: Royal Courts of Justice, Court 4, 10:30am
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:
Today the BBC asked: Why shouldn't Lauri Love just accept a plea deal in the US and be imprisoned for 2 to 10 years instead of 99 years?
Lauri's dad Alexander Love calls out the absurdity of the question: #TrialAtHome #FreeLauri pic.twitter.com/ow1AamhyPO
— Bean (@SomersetBean) November 28, 2017
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: