The parents of alleged computer hacker Lauri Love have spoken of their relief after the High Court ruled he should not be extradited to the United States.
Authorities in America had been fighting for Mr Love to face trial on charges of cyber-hacking, which lawyers said could have meant a sentence of up to 99 years in prison if found guilty.
He is alleged to have stolen huge amounts of data from US agencies, including the Federal Reserve, the US army, the defence department, Nasa and the FBI, in a spate of online attacks in 2012 and 2013.
But the extradition request was blocked earlier this week.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Mr Love’s father Alexander and mother Sirkka said that the High Court hearing on Monday coincided with the due date for the baby of their only daughter Natasha, who had a boy.
“There were many times when we wished he hadn’t been in that situation but there was no getting away from it, so we had to be there for him,” Mrs Love told the paper.
“We knew he was unusual and very bright, and we knew he liked computers, but we never expected this sort of thing to happen.”
Mr Love said: “It’s necessary that Lauri is either completely vindicated in court, or found guilty, to save us from this.
“Most couples would say ‘oh no’ if they heard their son was going to end up in court and then possibly be imprisoned. We’re thinking ‘what a relief’. We’ve never argued for Lauri to avoid facing the music, we’ve just always asked for a British band.”
Blocking the extradition, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Ouseley said: “We emphasise however that it would not be oppressive to prosecute Mr Love in England for the offences alleged against him. Far from it.”
Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Ouseley said: “The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) must now bend its endeavours to his prosecution, with the assistance to be expected from the authorities in the United States, recognising the gravity of the allegations in this case, and the harm done to the victims.”
They said that, if proven, “these are serious offences indeed”.
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