Home Secretary fails vulnerable hacker

27 November 2009

Home Secretary Alan Johnson stated last night that the Government would not intervene to block Gary McKinnon's extradition.

Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti said: "A government can't tie its own hands and then protest that its hands are tied. The shoddy treatment of this vulnerable man should demonstrate that our rotten extradition laws need urgent reform."

Gary McKinnon is now facing a lengthy sentence in a US jail for hacking into Pentagon and NASA systems from his home in London. McKinnon has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and his lawyers argued, in an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, that because of this, and because the crime was committed on British soil that he should be tried here in the UK.

Liberty argues that where conduct constituting a crime occurs in the UK then a British court should be allowed to refuse extradition if it is in the interests of justice to do so. Liberty also holds that the requesting country should have to make out the case for extradition in a British court before the request is granted.