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Liberty launches McKinnon paper plane campaign

As autism charity petitions the Queen

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The campaign to keep Gary McKinnon in the UK continues - this week sees the launch of petitions by both an autism charity and human rights campaigners Liberty.

Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society's petition calls on the Queen or Home Secretary to intervene in the case of the Pentagon hacker, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome.

Liberty, by contrast, frames its support for McKinnon in the context of a wider campaign against the existing UK/US extradition treaty. Fast track extradition allows US authorities to request the extradition of someone from the UK without presenting any evidence, but in the opposite case UK authorities hoping to extradite someone from the US would have to present probable cause.

Liberty's campaign has an arts and crafts twist. It wants supporters to download a PDF for a paper aeroplane template, print this out and then fold it. Supporters are then invited to take a picture of themselves along with this "Extradition Watch" aeroplane.

Entries, via email or snailmail, should be submitted to Liberty by 10 September for judging. The best will be published on Liberty's website.

"We want to gather as many photos as we can to display to the Government that there is support for Gary and to get the message across that it is high time to change the law," Liberty explains.

Liberty wants to amend the Policing and Crime Bill to give UK courts enhanced powers to refuse extradition in cases where a prosecution can be heard in the UK.

The charities' efforts to highlight McKinnon's plight follow a rejection by two senior judges of McKinnon's appeal that his recent diagnosis with Asperger's Syndrome ought to block his extradition. The results of the two judicial reviews into a decision by UK prosecutors not to launch an extradition and, separately, by the Home Secretary not to block the extradition are subject to possible further appeal to the new UK Supreme Court.

McKinnon's family and supporters are also trying to persuade UK ministers to intervene. ®

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