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Wednesday, 17 October 2012 10:20

Hacker Gary McKinnon will not be extradited

Written by Nick Farrell



UK finally changes one sided rules


After fighting for more than ten years and seven months Hacker Gary McKinnon will not be sent to the US for a trial. McKinnon hacked US military computers looking for proof of UFOs and the US said that they wanted him in their country so he could be sentenced to 60 years jail. If he was tried in the UK he would have been fined or been given a couple of years at the most.

McKinnon was also unlikely to survive a spell in a US jail. He has Aspberger's syndrome and suffers from depression. The case also highlighted the weakness in the UK extradition process which allowed the US government free access to UK citizens but not the other way around. However the move to stop the extradition process is a bit of a shock.

Home Secretary Theresa May  confirmed that she would halt Mr McKinnon’s extradition because it would be “incompatible with his human rights”. She said that McKinnon would not be fit to stand trial in the United States. Instead it will be up to the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide whether a trial should be conducted in the UK. The Home Secretary also announced plans to introduce new rules which would give UK judges the power to decide whether an extradition suspect should be tried in a British court or abroad.

This is a direct challenge to Britain's faith in America's legal process which tends to only favour those with a lot of dosh. Douglas McNabb, an expert on American law, told the BBC that US prosecutors would be “livid” with the announcement.  After all the US rules the world.

The move is also a little odd because May extradited two Muslim men to the United States on similar offences. Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan were both sought by US prosecutors for alleged cyber crimes committed on UK soil - in their case running a pro-jihadi website. Like Gary McKinnon, Talha Ahsan also had an Asperger's diagnosis and was considered a vulnerable adult at risk of suicide but the Home Secretary nonetheless ordered his extradition.

As one laywer pointed out if Gary McKinnon had been a Muslim he probably would have been packed off pretty sharpish.

Nick Farrell

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