By John Leyden
13th October 2008
The Home Secretary has rejected a request to rip up an extradition order
against accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon.
McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and solicitors for the
Briton wrote to Jacqui Smith saying his medical condition ought to mean
he should face criminal prosecution over his admitted hacking activities
in the UK rather than the US. The 42 year-old London-based Scot faces
seven charges of hacking into 97 US government, NASA and military
systems during 2001 and 2002. He has described the acts as an attempt to
unearth proof that the US military was suppressing evidence that it had
acquired advanced technology from UFOs.
US prosecutors have been seeking his extradition for mounting the
"biggest military hack of all time" since 2005 while the former sysadmin
has run a high-profile campaign to avoid extradition. McKinnon's appeals
against extradition were taken all the way through the British legal
system to the House of Lords, where arguments were rejected that US
authorities overstepped the mark in plea bargaining negotiations. The
European Court of Human Rights declined to get involved, leaving a plea
to the Home Secretary on medical grounds as McKinnon's main hope of
avoiding a one-way trans-Atlantic trip with the US Marshalls' Service.
A brace of protests by McKinnon's supporters outside the Home Office and
one outside the US Embassy have failed to achieve the required effect
after Jacqui Smith declined to intervene, in a decision relayed to
McKinnon's lawyers on Monday. Worse still, she failed to do anything to
ensure McKinnon's early repatriation to the UK to serve the remainder of
any sentence the US court might eventually impose.
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