McKinnon faces final appeal against extradition
Last last last chance (for now)
Accused US military hacker Gary McKinnon faces a legal hearing on Tuesday afternoon key to his long-running campaign to avoid extradition to the US on hacking charges.
Two judges will review a decision by UK prosecutors not to prosecute McKinnon in the UK during a hearing that's expected to last two days. The same appeal court judges - Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie - also conducted a hearing to evaluate whether former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith acted properly in allowing extradition proceedings against McKinnon to proceed despite his recent diagnosis with Asperger's Syndrome.
Meanwhile the Conservatives are planning to devote an opposition day at Westminster on Wednesday to a debate on McKinnon's fight against extradition, the Daily Mail reports.
McKinnon's four year campaign against extradition included failed appeals to the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights last summer, before it emerged that he suffered from a mild form of autism. His fate now rests with two senior judges, who will consider whether McKinnon's medical problems are serious enough to justify placing a legal block on extradition.
The run-up to the hearing has seen campaigning stepped up by McKinnon's growing band of supporters.
McKinnon's family and friends have been joined by backers including Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, London mayor Boris Johnson and former Beirut hostage Terry Waite. More recently the Daily Mail launched a high-profile campaign supporting McKinnon's fight against being hauled over to face trial in the US, where he is likely to receive a far longer sentence than if he were allowed to remain in the UK.
Those sympathetic to McKinnon's plight are invited to download a cover version of the Vietnam-era protest song Chicago, featuring the talents of David Gilmour, Bob Geldof, Chrissie Hynde and McKinnon himself. Donations (from 1p up) will go to autism charities, not towards funding McKinnon's legal fight. ®
What a prize knob end YOU are!
Jeez guys! find some common ground (or get a room)
Extradition is either something you believe in or something you don't, either way it's there and we are obliged to honor it, if you post a threat or have posed a threat to a foreign country you're a terrorist (unless you're at war in which case you're a hero), extradition itself is not seen as a punishment so retrospective application is irrelevant (unless you have already been punished).
The US is not a free country, the patriot act and earlier sedation acts means that a US citizen better not pose a threat to the government (important note, government not country), the recent treatment of vaguly arabic looking US citzens is unmatched by the treatment of vaguely Japanese looking US citizens back in WW2, the conditions that some US citizens put up with in the US was obviously better than Nazi concentration camps, but people still died, still lost jobs and homes, it will happen again.
McKinnon needs to be punished, employing him at GCHQ is a stupid idea, punishment should be a deterrent, he should serve his time then perhaps pursue application of his skills in a more productive way - if he is not punished then every script kiddie out there will think that every hack is a job interview.
Alan - assuming that the post office test has vaguely relevant questions on it's paper then it's probably appropriate, finding an efficient route is a great skill (although routes are all worked out in advance), but what if he opens the letters, refuses to post anything unless it's spelt correctly, folds "do not bend" letts that are too large, can't use initiative when an address doesn't exist, is agoraphobic, etc. etc. equal opportunities employment is out there for a reason, if it's wrong challenge it but don't assume the post office test paper is irrelevant for the job.
I was once caught for speeding rushing to my daughter because she had a motorcycle accident, does this excuse the crime? no, I freely accept this (it is a mitigation), it may explain but not excuse, I would hope McKinnon gets fair treatment, I cannot see who it serves not to punish him, but if motive and mental state is not taken into account then that would be unfair, maybe don't throw the book at him, maybe a small pamphlet and restric further access to computer systems - but it's no my call.
@ alan 39
What a prize knob end YOU are!
Do you seriously think the USA is our ally? We've only just repaid the 'loans' the USA made to us after World War II.
The US is a free country? Read the Patriot Act!
They have a decent legal system? Their judges are picked by politicians who put our duck-house, moat cleaning bunch to shame for depths of cynical opportunism.
They do exactly as they please, UK or not, and I wish WE took the freedoms of our 'citizens' as seriously as the US Americans do.
FFS ... McKinnon is a wanker, but he did break into a supposedly fortress data system! They should employ him, not imprison him! Better still ... WE should employ him at GCHQ!
There is such a thing as BAD Law and those who oppose it are right to do so.
My nephew has Asperger Syndrome. On holiday in Vienna he memorised the entire Vienna Metro system within two days and advised Viennese natives on best routes ... but can he get a job as a Postman in this country? No, because he can't pass the Post Office test paper!
Not about McKinnon.
What McKinnon did or didn't do and his Aspergers are irrelevant.
The issue here is the non-reciprocated extradition treaty with the US. Either the UK should require the US to provide evidence to extradite UK citizens to the US or the US should drop that requirement when the UK wants to extradite US citizens.
Given that the US will never concede to the 2nd option the UK should revoke the agreement until the US agree to, and provide, prima facie evidence against anyone, McKinnon included, before extradition is considered.
If anyone should be put on trial it is the spineless poodles who signed up to, and continue to support, this ridiculous treaty.
(Trying to imagine what a spineless poodle would look like. Not pretty.)