Home Secretary accepts it was the Human Rights Act that saved Gary

16 October 2012

Author: 
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty

The Home Office has today admitted that it was only the Human Rights Act which prevented Gary McKinnon’s unfair extradition. See the full text from their letter to Gary’s legal team below:

REQUEST BY THE USA FOR THE EXTRADITION OF GARY MCKINNON

"As you are aware, Mr McKinnon’s extradition has been requested by the US Government in relation to computer and fraud charges.

As you know, the statutory process under the Extradition Act 2003 has long ended. The only issue that the Secretary of State is now permitted to address is that which arises under the Human Rights Act 1998, namely whether your client’s extradition remains compatible with his human rights, in particular those under Articles 2, 3 and 8.

The gravity of the offences alleged against him, and the strong public interest in the honouring of our extradition arrangements, whilst relevant to any consideration of Article 8, are not relevant to Articles 2 and 3.

The Secretary of State has given the most careful consideration to all of the material, both medical and otherwise, in this difficult and exceptional case. She has concluded that the ordering of your client’s extradition, and his subsequent removal, would give rise to such risks to his health, and would, in particular, give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life, that a decision to that effect would be incompatible with his human rights under Article 3.

She has therefore withdrawn the extradition order of 4 July 2006.”

As Edward Fitzgerald QC, Gary’s barrister, said earlier – without the Human Rights Act, the Home Secretary “would have had to send Gary back”. “She would not have had any grounds to refuse extradition,” he added. “It’s her brave decision but it’s made possible by the Human Rights Act”.