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McKinnon suffers further legal setback in extradition fight

Fight continues as legal options dry up

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Gary McKinnon has suffered another legal setback in his fight against extradition to the US on hacking charges.

The accused hacker has been refused a written judicial review of the Home Secretary's decision not to suspend extradition proceedings in light of his recent diagnosis with Asperger's Syndrome. McKinnon's lawyer, Karen Todner, has been given until 5 December to apply for an oral judicial review (ie a hearing in chambers).

The legal setback follows decisions by the House of Lords to deny his appeal against extradition and the European Court of Justice washing its hands of the case.

In related news, an early day motion calling for the Home Secretary to seek assurances that McKinnon will be allowed to serve any sentence imposed by a US court in a UK jail is gaining support.

Thirty-seven MPs have signed the early day motion calling on the UK government to take steps to safeguard McKinnon's health even if his long-running campaign to avoid extradition fails.

McKinnon faces seven charges of hacking into US government and military systems during 2001 and 2002. The former sys admin has never contested the charges, but argues he was motivated by curiosity about supposed US government suppression of knowledge about UFO-harvested technologies and contact with aliens rather than anything more malign.

He denies causing widespread damage and has expressed incredulity as the suggestion of US prosecutors that he was "the biggest military hacker of all time".

The London-based Scot's lawyers and legal team have run a three-year campaign arguing that McKinnon ought to be tried in the UK rather than extradited to the US, where he's likely to face a far longer sentence in harsher conditions. ®

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