13 Sep 2008

McKinnon extradition: our citizens, their law

US authorities have demanded the extradition of Gary McKinnon due to multiple hacking of computer systems in 2001 and 2002. McKinnon has been threatened by US prosecutors with decades in jail and even to “fry”.

Hull and East Riding Green Party Martin Deane asks: "But what did Gary McKinnon do? He entered remote computers using backdoors and left some messages. We have a popular UFO society in Hull! Many cities do. It’s precisely the unexplained, the secret, the unknown, that makes investigation - and science itself - so attractive. He was following an intriguing hobby researching NASA information kept from the public."

I am still struggling to get my head around this - surely some folk have egg on their faces but they also know where the system is weak? Indeed the only part of rthe defence system to suffer is surely it's ego? How does that lead to threats of locking him up for 70 years? One lawyer is even demanding he should fry! In this atmosphere, if we hand him over, it’s likely to be a lynch-mob not a trial.

Martin Deane has been in touch with with Gary’s mum, Janis, and she told him: ‘Gary is a vegetarian; he is a gentle pacifist but his extradition has been relentlessly pursued by both the U.K and the American governments as though he is a terrorist. She says the European Court on Human Rights has turned down Gary's appeal but that it accepted Abu Hamza's and allowed him a stay, even though the Human Rights Points presented to the ECHR for Gary were virtually identical in both cases’!

Where’s the justice in this?? The British government has a responsibility to protect Gary McKinnon. Yet because of Labour’s iniquitous Extradition Law, every court has failed to protect him so far. Now he is to be put at the mercy of the US justice system. It is time for our Home Secretary to show compassion, and an understanding of the serious disregard for the implications of Asperger’s Syndrome which the courts have taken, by refusing the extradition.

Gary McKinnon has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome by foremost authorities, a condition which could explain the persistent nature of his so-called “crime”. He is described as “distraught” at what is happening.

Clearly it is time to re-think summary extradition when US prosecutors threaten to 'fry' a non-violent computer hacker
James Welch, Liberty
I hope more will join with his lawyers and campaign groups such as Liberty, the Disabled People’s Action Network, and the Mental Health Action Group, to call:
1. for the UK government to intervene and not to extradite McKinnon to America,
2. for the one-way extradition agreement with America to be halted pending a full review.
3. for, at the very least, Gary McKinnon to be returned to Britain after trial.

The UK government has increasingly been accused of failure to punch its weight on the international stage. This is an opportunity for Jacqui Smith to argue McKinnon's case to stand trial here?

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