Campaign for justice for McKinnon gathers pace


A campaign to prevent the extradition of a disabled man to the US has gathered pace, with a new high court hearing and a parliamentary debate.
Gary McKinnon, who has Asperger’s syndrome, faces extradition to be tried for allegedly hacking into US defense department computer systems.
He faces a possible prison sentence of 60 years in a maximum security prison if convicted in the US.
McKinnon’s lawyers made a second application for a judicial review at the high court on 14 July, arguing that he should be prosecuted in the UK under the Computer Misuse Act.
An earlier application for a judicial review argued that the extradition would breach McKinnon’s human rights because of its probable effect on his mental health.
A decision on both legal challenges is expected later in July.
The hearing came as the Daily Mail launched a campaign to prevent his extradition.
This followed a campaign by the National Autistic Society, which has seen more than 4,300 people sign a petition calling on the prime minister to take action, and 2,500 people ask their MPs to raise the case with the home secretary.
Meanwhile, MPs have called in a parliamentary debate for the government to review extradition laws, in the light of McKinnon’s case.
Chris Grayling, the Conservative shadow home secretary, said this and other high-profile cases had undermined confidence in the UK’s extradition laws.
David Burrowes, McKinnon’s Conservative constituency MP in north London, said: “I very much stand up for justice for Gary McKinnon, who has become a victim of an unfair treaty.
“The government must do more than just shed tears when a petition arrives at No 10. They must act to stop this extradition, and review this unfair act.”
Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary, said his party had consistently opposed the extradition arrangements with the US because it believed the Extradition Act 2003 was “manifestly unfair to British citizens and those who have been caught up by the treaty, such as Gary McKinnon”.
16 July 2009