Reprieve! Mckinnon Can Stay in Britain

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Bentham, Joe Murphy and John Dunne

LONDON computer hacker Gary McKinnon today won his 10-year fight against extradition to the US after a landmark ruling by Home Secretary Theresa May.

Mr McKinnon, 46, who has Asperger's syndrome, faced 60 years in jail after hacking into Pentagon computers. He says he was looking for evidence of UFOs.

Speaking outside their Wood Green home his mother Janis Sharp said: "Justice has been done and this shows that the US does not control the UK justice system. We have had great support, including from the media, and this decision has saved my son's life. All we ever asked was that he is tried in this country."

The decision will be seen as a major victory for campaigners who claim it is too easy for the US to demand Britain hands over its citizens for trial.

Mrs May told the Commons that new medical evidence showed Mr McKinnon's mental condition meant that he was not fit to be sent for trial. She said Continued on Page 2

Continued from Page 1 that she was halting his extradition on human rights grounds. David Cameron raised the issue with President Barack Obama during a meeting at the White House in March.

British prosecutors will now be asked to decide instead whether Mr McKinnon should stand trial here.

Mrs May also announced changes to Britain's extradition arrangements with the US, including the introduction of a "forum test" under which British judges will be able to order cases to be heard in this country instead.

New wording will also be issued to clarify the level of evidence required before extradition to the US takes place in response to claims by some MPs and other critics that the current legislation is lopsided and unfair to Britons. …