Kevin D., the Mechelen hacker jailed in Milan for breaking into American Airlines systems, faces three years in prison. When the Belgian judge sentenced him, D. Escapes extradition to the US, where he faces 22 or 45 years in prison.
The 27-year-old from Mechelen has been convicted of hacking offenses several times in the past. For example, he penetrated the systems of cinema Utopolis and telecom operator Mobistar. He also booked free flight tickets in business class. He did this with Brussels Airlines, but also with American Airlines. They couldn’t laugh at the facts and filed a complaint with the state of Texas. They say they lost more than $200,000 as a result of the hacking.
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Belgian authorities did not respond to a US request to arrest him, as Belgium does not extradite nationals. But when the man made a trip to Milan, the Italians did. “Kevin T. changed his life. He found a job, for which his father wanted to reward him,” explains lawyer Sven Mertens. “In October they went to a football match together at the San Siro, but once in Milan they were kicked out of bed and Kevin was arrested. He has been in San Vittore prison ever since.
According to Mertens, he has a very difficult time there. “He has lost 25 kilos and was full of rashes when his parents visited in June. He has an impending depression, where the situation is very bad. In fact, he never used the tickets he booked, a childhood sin. He got into research out of technical curiosity.
A few months ago, his parents were able to meet him for the first time. It eventually became too much for father Alex. He died shortly after of a heart attack. Kevin was not allowed to attend the funeral, but a letter was read aloud. “It’s a nightmare for the whole family,” says lawyer Frédéric Thiebaut, who points to the unclear circumstances that led to D. Texas ending up.
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Meanwhile, proceedings have also been launched in Belgium to prosecute Kevin D for hacking American Airlines. The case came up for hearing in the Criminal Court on Wednesday. Prosecutor Peter Beerboom sought a three-year prison sentence. Both lawyers agreed. “He faces 22 to 45 years in prison, depending on how you interpret US law. It goes without saying that we want a sentence closer to home. And there’s the possibility of carrying out the sentence.
Thibaut asked the court to make a decision soon, as extradition proceedings from Italy to the US have been temporarily suspended until mid-September. So the verdict will be announced tomorrow, Thursday. If the person is convicted in Belgium, he cannot be convicted a second time for the same offences. Deportation to the US was out of the question.
Read more. “Our Kevin is going to jail for over 20 years, it’s terrible”: Parents worry hacker could be extradited to US