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Johnson refuses to intervene in McKinnon extradition

'No discretion' says Home Sec

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Gary McKinnon could be extradited to the US to face hacking charges before Christmas, after the Home Secretary declared he would not be intervening in the case.

Alan Johnson had frozen extradition proceedings against 43 year old McKinnon - accused of hacking into the Pentagon's computers in 2002 - in the middle of last month. Johnson said he would consider new evidence in the case, namely that McKinnon had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndome. This followed the Supreme Court's refusal to halt the extradition.

However, the Press Association reports tonight, Johnson has decided that the extradition would not contravene McKinnon's human rights, and he had no "general discretion" to intervene in the case.

McKinnon's mother, Janis Sharp, told the PA that her son's legal team would apply for a judicial review, but added that if this was not granted, the self-confessed hacker could be extradited before Christmas.

Following the Supreme Court's refusal to halt the extradition, McKinnon's legal team had 14 days to make representations to the European Court of Human rights, though their options were thought to be extremely limited. Johnson's intervention put that countdown on hold, so any remaining hope McKinnon has of avoiding extradition now depends on Strasbourg. ®

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