Flemish man who hacked American Airlines extradited to Belgium

Kevin D., the 20-year-old from Mechelen (Antwerp province) who has been held in an Italian cell since October 2021 at the request of US prosecutors, has been handed over to our country by Italian authorities. An international arrest warrant was issued against the man after he allegedly hacked American Airlines' website. During a visit to Milan for a Red Devils (Belgium's national team, ed.) football match, he was arrested and Italy was supposed to extradite him to the United States, but a ruling by the Mechelen court on 25 August made Italy decide to extradite the man to our country.

In Belgium, Kevin D. had already pleaded guilty to hacking several American Airlines websites in August 2017. The US judiciary requested the man's extradition from our country, but the Belgian court refused. However, an international arrest warrant was issued, so the man became wanted. On a visit to Italy in October 2021, he was arrested. Since then, he has been in a Milanese cell. Earlier this year, the Italian judiciary agreed to extradite the man to the United States. However, this decision was temporarily suspended when it became clear that a trial for the same facts was set to follow in our country.

If the US judiciary does not comply with the Belgian verdict, the hacker may never be able to leave the country again because he would risk being arrested abroad and extradited to the US.

Because the crimes occurred in our country, Belgian justice is also entitled to handle the case, which happened on 24 August. The verdict followed the day after and Kevin D. was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to three years effective jail time.

Within Europe, a person cannot be convicted twice for the same offences. The Italian judiciary became aware of the Belgian verdict and decided to surrender the man to our country. That extradition has now happened: D. is currently in a Belgian cell, his lawyer confirmed to Belga on Monday.

However, it cannot be ruled out that a US judge might still decide Kevin D. has to answer to the United States after all. The man's lawyers already announced they would do everything in their power to ensure that the US judiciary complies with the Belgian verdict. If they fail to do so, the hacker may never be able to leave our country again because he would risk being arrested abroad and extradited to the US. Prison sentences in the US are known to be considerably longer than those in Belgium.




© PHOTO by Sheldon Cooper / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

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