Last summer Polish law enforcement officers arrested Artem Vaulin, the alleged founder of KickassTorrents, who’s been held in custody since.
Polish authorities acted on a criminal complaint from the US Government, which accused him of criminal copyright infringement and money laundering.
Facing severe back problems, Vaulin was transferred to a hospital in December. In both the US and Poland his legal has been fighting the extradition request in court, which resulted in a setback this week.
Following a series of hearings that started early last month, the Warsaw District Court ruled in first instance that the alleged KickassTorrents owner can be extradited.
While the ruling is bad news, the decision isn’t final yet. In Poland, the legality of extraditions is decided in two stages. If the court also agrees in second instance, the Minister of Justice then issues the final decision.
The Court has not yet released the details of its initial decision. According to the Court’s press service “the written opinion on the decision is postponed for the duration of 7 days, because of the complexity and breadth of the case.”
If the lower court grants the extradition request in full, Vaulin can also take the case to the Supreme Court for a review. Meanwhile, the alleged KickassTorrents operator remains in a local hospital where he’s still being treated for his back problems.
If the extradition is granted, Vaulin will have to face a criminal trial in the United States.
The Department of Justice accuses Vaulin and his co-conspirators of operating the largest piracy haven on the Internet, which made millions of dollars per year. As such, they are being held responsible for unlawfully distributing over $1 billion of copyrighted materials
In addition to the Polish extradition process, an equally crucial ruling is forthcoming in the US as well.
Last month Vaulin’s legal counsel asked the Illinois District Court to dismiss the criminal indictment and set his client free, arguing that there’s no proof of actual criminal copyright infringement.