28 March 2016 00:00
Lauri Love is a computer scientist from Stradishall in the UK who has a long history of involvement in political activism. A dual UK-Finnish national on his mother’s side, Lauri registered as a conscientious objector in Finland for his national service in 2009, before he enrolled on a degree in Computer Science and Physics at Glasgow University.
Since his rearrest on 15 July 2015, Lauri Love has been under threat of extradition to the United States. The extradition treaty between the US and the UK has become extraordinarily controversial in recent years, particularly in computer crimes cases, and for good reason.
The experience of defendants in similar cases in the United States – some of whom are also beneficiaries of the Courage Foundation – provides a consistent picture of politically motivated prosecutorial overreach, restricted ability to prepare an adequate defence and discriminatory treatment in prison, including frequent resort to solitary confinement.
They also suggest a coordination between UK and US prosecutors that undermine protections brought in for UK citizens after other highly controversial attempts to extradite alleged computer crime defendants.
Lauri’s extradition hearing has been scheduled for 28-29 June at Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London. His extradition is not a foregone conclusion; concerted campaigns for Gary McKinnon and Richard O’Dwyer led to US extradition requests being refused.