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Key McKinnon extradition ruling due next week

UFO hacker legal circus lurches towards climax

Appeal judges will deliver a ruling next Friday on whether or not extradition proceedings against Gary McKinnon can proceed following his recent diagnosis with Asperger's Syndrome.

Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie conducted two separate hearings on the case. One sitting reviewed whether former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith acted properly in permitting extradition proceedings against McKinnon to proceed, despite his recent diagnosis with a mild form of autism. During a second hearing, earlier this month, the same two judges looked into a decision by UK prosecutors not to prosecute McKinnon in the UK, despite his legal team's offer to submit a signed confession to computer crime offences.

"The judgements in the two judicial reviews, one against the Secretary of State and the second against the DPP, will be handed down on Friday, 31 July," a one sentence statement from McKinnon's solicitors Kaim Toddner explains.

McKinnon's four year campaign against extradition has included failed appeals to the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights last summer, both of which came before he was diagnosed with a mild form of autism, a factor that opened up fresh avenues of appeal. McKinnon's fate now rests with two senior judges, who will consider whether the UFO hunter's medical problems are bad enough to justify placing a legal block on his extradition to the US.

The former sys admin's long running fight against extradition has been accompanied by an energetic media campaign. Backers including Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, London mayor Boris Johnson and former Beirut hostage Terry Waite, among many other high-profile public figures. More recently the Daily Mail threw its support behind McKinnon and against the one-sided extradition treaty between the US and UK. A Conservative motion calling for a review of this treaty was defeated in Parliament last weeks after former Labour MP supporters of McKinnon were whipped into line. ®

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