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McKinnon supporters plan US embassy demo

Last stand against extradition?

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Supporters of accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon are planning a second London demonstration, this time outside the US embassy.

The demo - scheduled for 4pm on 28 September in Grosvenor Square - will focus on McKinnon's recent diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome as a reason he should be allowed to face justice in the UK instead of being extradited to the US.

McKinnon's legal team has exhausted all possible legal appeals against his extradition to the US after both the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights denied his appeals. His sole hope of avoiding trial in the US rests on a plea for mercy to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that McKinnon's recent medical diagnosis provides a strong reason to allow him to remain in the UK.

About 80 people attended an earlier protest on Mckinnon's behalf outside the Home Office on 2 September. The next demo is being organised by the London Autistic Rights Movement.

Family and friends of McKinnon have agreed to get a wider group of allies involved in the latest round of protests including Liberty, Amnesty International, the UK Disabled Peoples Council, and others, such as local Stop the War Groups.

The protest is the latest phase in McKinnon's long-running fight against extradition, which began in 2005. The London-based Scot faces seven counts of hacking into 97 US government, NASA and military systems between 2001 and 2002.

If eventually extradited to the US and convicted on all counts, McKinnon faces between eight to ten years' imprisonment, according to papers submitted during his House of Lords appeal. His family and supporters fear his fate could be far worse than this and that he might end up with a sentence of up to 60 years behind bars. ®

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