Home Secretary: McKinnon extradition must go ahead

Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said computer hacker Gary McKinnon must face trial in the US.

Home Secretary: McKinnon extradition must go ahead

The Home Secretary appeared to throw McKinnon a lifeline in October when he “stopped the clock” on extradition proceedings to consider new medical evidence. McKinnon’s lawyers have argued that the Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer could commit suicide if imprisoned in the US, where he faces charges of hacking into NASA and Pentagon computers.

However, Johnson claims there are no grounds to prevent McKinnon’s extradition. “I have carefully considered the representations in the case of Gary McKinnon,” Johnson said in a statement. “I am clear that the information is not materially different from that placed before the High Court earlier this year and does not demonstrate that sending Mr McKinnon to the US would breach his human rights.”

“Due to legitimate concerns over Mr McKinnon’s health, we have sought and received assurances from the United States authorities that his needs will be met,” Johnson added.

“If Mr McKinnon’s human rights would be breached, I must stop the extradition. If they would not be breached, the extradition must go ahead.”

“Devastating blow”

McKinnon’s lawyer said his legal team will continue to fight the extradition, despite the latest setback. “It’s a devastating blow but we are not going to give up,” Karen Todner told the BBC. “We are certainly coming to the end of the road.

“We’re just hoping at some point someone sees sense and steps in. All the legal team do know is we cannot give up because in some ways it’s like dealing with a death row case, and we genuinely believe that Gary’s life is at stake here.”

The team will seek a judicial review of Johnson’s decision. If that fails, they will turn to the European Court of Human Rights.

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