We republish here our response to an op-ed published by Janis Sharp, (mother of Gary McKinnon who successfully fought extradition to the US on similar charges) in “The Guardian” (UK) regarding the decision of a UK judge to uphold the US’ request to extradite Love for alleged “hacker crimes”.
The original article can be found here.
Not Extradition to the US but Freedom Now for Lauri Love! Workers have the right to be tried in their home countries by juries of their peers for violations of their own countries’ laws.
Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago
Though it is certainly true that prisoners in US jails and prisons are routinely denied necessary and even life-saving medical care we are convinced that the arguments that Lauri Love or anyone else should not be extradited to the US primarily due to their mental state or physical infirmity are not the most compelling issues in extradition cases. The focus on the legal issues here being discussed are on the rights of nation-states to extradite citizens of foreign countries rather than the right of citizens of any country to be tried in their own country under their own nation’s laws and to be judged by a jury of their peers – the latter of which is what we see as being the crucial issue in the Love case.
The old saying that “ignorance of the law is no defense” pertains only to the presumption that every educated citizen of every nation must be aware of the laws of his/her own country – not of every country on Earth. It is difficult enough for citizens of, say, the US or UK to keep abreast of the ever-changing sea of new legislation in their own countries that can land them in jail for years; how is a citizen of the UK supposed to keep abreast of the ever-changing legal landscape in every other nation on Earth?
And WHY should anyone have to give a crap about other countries’ laws anyway? We can’t be held accountable for violations of another nation’s laws, which we had nothing to do with the promulgation of and are not (or should not be) legally bound to obey in any case unless we commit a heinous crime (like murder) while physically in that country.
What is at stake here is not the alleged “right” of foreign nation-states to extradite but the “right” of citizens of any country to only be bound by the laws of the nation state they are citizens of, and to be tried under THOSE laws by a jury of their peers.
There is absolutely no reason why Lauri Love’s rights as a UK citizen must be abrogated in order to make life easier for US prosecutors whose presumed jurisdiction over UK citizens is (or should be) highly questionable at best. The hypocrisy of the US Government in claiming that they have a “right” to extradite those who violate US laws is exposed by the US Government’s complete refusal to hand over to Italy CIA agents who committed crimes in Italy and neighboring countries and who violated European Human Rights laws by participating in the kidnapping and torture of European citizens at CIA “secret prisons” in Europe in the years after the 11 September 2001 attacks. As usual the US and its agents can literally get away with murder while its “enemies” (the world’s working classes) must be handed over to it immediately upon demand even for the most trivial offenses.
The relative burden of the US Govt for attempting to try Love in the UK under UK law is far less than for Love to attempt to defend himself in a foreign country under a foreign legal system where it is absolutely impossible for him to obtain a jury of his peers. On top of all that, the penalties for conviction in the US in what is indeed not a mere criminal prosecution but an actual political persecution are vastly dissimilar to what Love would face if he was tried in the UK.
Workers in the US and UK and around the world must fight intransigently against the extension of the long arm of the law across national borders. The worker-hating US capitalist class, drenched as it is with the blood of countless numbers of its working-class enemies must not be allowed to become the world’s policeman.
Lastly we do not believe that exposing the crimes of the world’s most vicious terrorist government – the US government – is in itself a crime, but is in fact a heroic act that will help liberate the world from the death-grip of US imperialism. We say: Defend Lauri Love! Defend the right to be tried in our home countries by juries of our peers under the laws of our own nations! US hands off Lauri Love!
Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago (IL, USA)
(No organizational affiliation with WikiLeaks or the WikiLeaks Party)
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