A British man accused of hacking into U.S. government computer systems and stealing confidential information should be extradited to the United States to face trial, a judge ruled Friday.
Judge Nina Tempia said Lauri Love faces “extremely serious charges,” and his extradition would not be disproportionate.
At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the judge said “I am satisfied Mr. Love’s extradition would be compatible with his (human) rights.”
She sent the case to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who makes the final decision on extraditions.
Love has 14 days to appeal the judgment to the High Court.
U.S. prosecutors say 31-year-old Love hacked agencies including the U.S. Army, NASA, the Federal Reserve and the Environmental Protection Agency and stole names, Social Security numbers and credit card information.
Love, from Stradishall in eastern England, was arrested in 2013 on suspicion of computer crimes but has not been charged in Britain.
He has been charged in three U.S. states — New Jersey, New York and Virginia.
Love’s lawyers say he has Asperger’s syndrome, and will be at risk of suicide if he is jailed in the U.S.
After the ruling, Love said he worried about the toll the long legal case is “taking on my health and my family’s.”
But he said “it just means that when we do win, it will have more force.”
American attempts to extradite U.K. hackers have often become politicized.
Gary McKinnon, accused of hacking U.S. military computers in 2002, fought a decade-long legal battle which eventually thwarted the extradition bid.
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