Slovenia rejects U.S. extradition order and releases NASA hacking suspect
A student reads computer code on March 16, 2013 during a hacking challenge in France (AFP)

A Slovenian higher court on Wednesday rejected an United States extradition request and released a Romanian citizen charged with hacking into NASA computers in 2006.

Maribor's higher court rejected the extradition request taking into account that Romanian citizen Victor Faur could not be tried again for the same charges for which he had already been sentenced in Romania in 2008 to 16 months of suspended prison time and a 238,000 dollar (€176,000) fine.

"I want to thank the Slovenian authorities for taking the right decision and not bowing to the American pressure," Faur told Slovenian journalists after being released in the northeastern town of Murska Sobota.

He added "I'm sure they (the US government) knew they had no chance of extradition yet they wanted to keep me here as long as possible."

Slovenian police detained 34-year-old Faur during a routine road control in October and kept him until the local authorities decided on the US international arrest warrant.

The US authorities charged Faur with hacking into NASA computers and causing more than 1.5 million dollars of damage to the US space agency and of breaking into the computers of the US Navy and Department of Energy between November 2005 and September 2006.

Faur has admitted the intrusions but said he wanted to prove that many computers are vulnerable to IT attacks and maintained he did not try to obtain material for personal gain.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]