Gary McKinnon escapes extradition after Home Secretary ruling

News by Dan Raywood

Home Secretary Theresa May has overruled the extradition order against Gary McKinnon.

Home Secretary Theresa May has overruled the extradition order against Gary McKinnon.

McKinnon, who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, will not face extradition to the United States due to his medical condition, according to the Home Secretary.

May said that her decision was based on article three of the Human Rights Act. She said: “There is no doubt Mr McKinnon has been accused of a very serious crime but he is seriously ill. I have very carefully considered the medical evidence and have taken legal advice and have concluded that his extradition would give such a high risk that he would end his life that it restricts his human rights.

“I have come to the decision that extradition would not be appropriate. That is the decision I have taken [with] the evidence available.”

Her decision was welcomed by Sir Menzies Campbell MP and Dennis Skinner MP, who praised the work of McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp in raising awareness of the case.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said: “This is a great day for rights, freedoms and justice in the United Kingdom. The Home Secretary has spared this vulnerable man the cruelty of being sent to the US and accepted Liberty's long-standing argument for change to our rotten Extradition laws.

“This campaign [had been] led by Gary's fearless mother, united lawyers, politicians, press and public from across the spectrum in the cause of compassion and common sense.”

McKinnon hacked into the network of the Pentagon over a period of months during 2001 and 2002. He was accused of the crime in 2002 and has since endured a series of appeals against his extradition to the US to face trial over the course of three Prime Ministers, two Presidents and six Home Secretaries.

McKinnon admitted accessing US networks at the Pentagon, but said he was looking for evidence of UFOs.

Theresa May announced in September that the decision would be made ‘on or around' 16th October 2012, rejecting an appeal by McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp to bring forward the decision.

McKinnon failed in High Court bids to avoid extradition in 2007 and 2009 and he appealed to the House of Lords to overturn his extradition to the US in 2008. In 2010 the then Home Secretary Alan Johnson said that he believed McKinnon should be extradited, while Mayor of London Boris Johnson criticised the possibility of extradition as ‘brutal, mad and wrong'.

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