Gary McKinnon extradition blocked by UK government

By Danny Palmer
16 Oct 2012 View Comments
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British computer hacker Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to the US after the move was blocked by Home Secretary Theresa May.

McKinnon admits accessing American government computers in 2002, but says he just was looking for evidence about UFOs. The US has been trying to extradite the 46-year-old for a decade – a move that could have seen him jailed there for 60 years – but May has now blocked the move over worries over McKinnon's health.

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"Mr McKinnon is accused of serious crimes. But there is also no doubt that he is seriously ill," the Home Secretary told the House of Commons.

"He has Asperger's Syndrome, and suffers from depressive illness. The legal question before me is now whether the extent of that illness is sufficient to preclude extradition.

"After careful consideration of all of the relevant material, I have concluded that Mr McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon's human rights," she said.

It marks the first time a UK government has stepped in to block a US extradition request. The news was welcomed by Gary McKinnon's lawyer, Karen Todner.

"Am delighted by Home Secretary's decision not to extradite Gary McKinnon. The right result after all these years," she posted to Twitter.

McKinnon could still face trial in the UK, but May is leaving that decision to be made by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kier Starmer.

"It will now be for the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide whether Mr McKinnon has a case to answer in a UK court," said the Home Secretary.

The US isn't likely to be happy with the decision, with former White House adviser David Rivkin calling the decision "laughable".

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