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McKinnon extradition drama turned into radio play

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The plight of accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon has become the subject of a radio play due to air on the UK's Radio 4 on Wednesday afternoon.The play, due to air at 2.15pm will tell the story of McKinnon's fight against extradition to the US.

McKinnon is fighting against extradition to the US on hacking offences after losing an appeal in April. Only the Law Lords now stand between the Scot and a US trial for allegedly breaking into and damaging 97 US government computers between 2001 and 2002 and causing an estimated $700,000 worth of damage, in what US authorities have described as the "biggest military" computer hack ever.

The former sys admin admits he gained unauthorised access to military networks - using a Perl script to search for default passwords - but describes himself as a bumbling amateur motivated by curiosity about evidence of UFOs, rather than a cyberterrorist. McKinnon and his legal team have consistently argued that he ought to be tried in the UK.

The Law Lords agreed to hear arguments that US authorities acted in an "oppressive" and "arbitrary" manner during plea bargaining negotiations, for example, by allegedly threatening McKinnon over the loss of rights to serve part of his sentence in the UK unless he submitted to voluntary extradition. No date for the hearing has been set as yet.

The 45 minute play will be available online for a week, after it airs, here.

Later, at 8pm on Wednesday, McKinnon himself is due to feature in Radio 4's flagship legal affairs programme Unreliable Evidence. The programme, presented by Clive Anderson, will discuss how the UK makes extradition abroad relatively easy while it's "almost impossible" to extradite people from other countries to face trial in Britain. The programme will be repeated on Saturday 15 December from 22.15-23.00 pm. ®

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