Ryan Cleary, a 20-year-old allegedly linked to the activities of the LulzSec hacking collective, could escape extradition to the US on charges of computer misuse if he is tried in Britain for the same charges.
Cleary was indicted on Tuesday by a grand jury in Los Angeles on charges that accused him of being involved in hacking into US sites for the US X Factor, PBS Newshour, Sony Pictures and others.
But Cleary’s solicitor in the UK, Karen Todner, said in a statement she understood from US prosecutors there would be no extradition moves against her client if the UK courts tried him on the same charges he faces there.
Cleary is accused in the UK of conspiring to bring down the websites of the CIA and the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) last spring, and of co-ordinating attacks against a number of websites. He will have to be extradited to the US to face the charges there if they are not dealt with in the UK.
Todner pledged to fight any moves to extradite Cleary, who is said to have Asperger’s syndrome, on the basis that it would be “totally undesirable”.
She said: “As yet no decisions have been made as to which charges Mr Cleary will deny or accept but we can state now that should any application be made for Mr Cleary’s extradition then it will be fiercely contested.”
She added: “We would once again urge the UK government, particularly in light of the evidence of internet and computer cases coming through the courts, that they now review the US extradition treaty.” The treaty has been repeatedly criticised for favouring the US by offering a lower barrier to extradition to the US than vice-versa.
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