Calls have been made to save an autistic hacker from the threat of a US jail term.
Scottish hacker Gary McKinnon is facing up to 60 years in a US prison after hacking into computer systems at NASA and the Pentagon. His defence claimed that he was merely looking for information on his UFO hobby rather than being ‘the biggest military computer hacker of all time'.
McKinnon was reportedly looking for conspiracy theories on UFOs to America's most wanted cyber-terrorist after 9/11
Shadow justice minister David Burrowes, his local MP, is set to put down a motion in parliament calling on Jacqui Smith to review the medical records of Gary McKinnon who is only weeks away from being sent to the US.
So far, an appeal to the House of Lords has been rejected and now Mr McKinnon's legal team is waiting for a judgment on a judicial review which it has asked for in light of his recent diagnosis with Asperger's. A decision on the review is due imminently. Should this be turned down, he will have just ten days to pack his bags, possibly never to return.
Mr Burrowes, his MP, is demanding his extradition be halted until his condition has been more carefully assessed. Last night he said: “My concern is also over this extradition treaty where UK citizens are being plucked out of our country without evidence and facing the full force of the American law.”
He also pointed out that nationals of countries such as Israel and the Netherlands are allowed to serve their sentences at home, and asked why Mr McKinnon has to be sent to America.
The Home Secretary is also facing pressure to ensure Mr McKinnon is at least allowed to return to the UK on bail before the many months that could await him before a trial.
In 1997, Mathew Bevan was accused of breaking into US military systems, but escaped without punishment when his case at Woolwich Crown Court was dropped after a long legal battle. Meanwhile the US is currently trying to extradite one Israeli hacker, Ehud Tenenbaum, from Canada over allegations that he hacked into financial institutions. He escaped extradition in 1998 after hacking into the Pentagon.