Text and music campaigns established to support Gary McKinnon as barrister claims that extradition will breach bill of rights

An SMS campaign has been established to allow supporters of alleged hacker Gary McKinnon to join a text petition.

The text petition, spearheaded by McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp and key supporters, urges voters to text ‘Gary' to 65000 by way of demonstrating their support. Evidence of petitioner numbers will be sent on a regular basis to the Home Secretary, as well as to the Conservative and Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretaries.

Sharp said: “The support and compassion shown by members of the public has been a tremendous boost during our eight year fight to ensure Gary faces justice in the UK.

“I hope this text campaign helps stir the Government from its stupor of inactivity which is simply fuelling the public's sense of outrage at the unnecessary cruelty of the situation.

“Gordon Brown wrung his hands over the execution of a mentally ill British drugs carrier in China. Yet he and his Government remain complicit in the US authorities' hounding of my vulnerable son, despite knowing that, for Gary, extradition amounts to nothing less than a death sentence, given his growing mental instability.”

A social networking campaign has also been established, asking supporters to download the song ‘Chicago', that was recorded last year, with and for Gary, by international musicians David Gilmour, Bob Geldof and Chrissie Hynde.

Sharp said: “As for the music campaign, I hope President Obama will listen to the reworded version of ‘Chicago' which is a direct plea to him. If he personally learns of Gary's plight perhaps he may show compassion of his own accord, and allow my son to be tried in Britain.”

The song is available for download from iTunes, Amazon and HMV online, and text messages will be charged at normal network rates.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey Robertson QC said the 1689 Bill of Rights specifically prohibited ‘cruel and unusual punishments' and so extraditing McKinnon will breach the bill.

Writing in the magazine Standpoint, and reported by the Telegraph, Robertson said: “It [the Bill of Rights] was meant to ban punishments that do not fit the crime and cause unnecessary mental anguish, a precise description, you might think, of the fate of Gary McKinnon.

“If tried in Britain, where the crime was partly committed, he would in all probability receive a non-custodial sentence, especially since his actions were motivated by an undiagnosed disorder over which he had no control.

“He will be a victim of the European Convention, or at least of Parliament's ignorance in preferring the convention's loose language to that of its own, more stalwart predecessor.”

McKinnon could find out as soon as next week whether the High Court will allow a judicial review of a decision by Home Secretary Alan Johnson to ignore fresh medical reports about the impact of extradition on McKinnon's health.

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