A U.K. judge has ruled in favor of extraditing a British man to the U.S. on charges of hacking government computers, despite fears he may commit suicide.
Lauri Love, 31, has been fighting his extradition for allegedly stealing data from U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Defense and NASA.
On Friday, a Westminster Magistrates court ruled that Love can be safely extradited to the U.S. to face trial, even though he has Asperger Syndrome and a history of depression.
“I send this case to the secretary of state for her decision as to whether or not Mr. Love should be extradited,” Judge Nina Tempia said in the ruling.
The Courage Foundation, which is running Love's defense fund, said his legal team will appeal the ruling.
The U.S. charged Love with the hacking offenses back in 2013. Love is facing a maximum sentence of 99 years if convicted.
He is accused of conducting the cyberattacks for more than a year starting in October 2012 and stealing confidential data on government employees, including Social Security numbers and credit card details.
To gain access to government databases, he allegedly pulled off his hack with SQL injection attacks and exploited vulnerabilities in Adobe Coldfusion, a web application development platform.
An unnamed source who had access to chat rooms used by Love later revealed the hacks to U.S. investigators. Love is facing extradition requests from three U.S. court districts.
Friday’s ruling in the U.K. found that although Love is a suicide risk, the U.S. has measures in place to ensure his safe transfer to the country.
His defense fund, however, claims that Love will be unfairly treated in the U.S. and that he will be served with a prison sentence that goes too far.
Love's hacking has been related to his activism, the defense fund said. He allegedly breached the U.S. government computers as part of OpLastResort, an online protest in response to the death of Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide while under U.S. investigation for possible computer crimes.
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