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Home Secretary unmoved by last-ditch McKinnon protests

Gary's mum protests to the Queen

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Self-confessed Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon ought to answer serious criminal charges in the US, the Home Secretary told MPs on Tuesday

Alan Johnson defended his recent decision to allow extradition proceedings against McKinnon - despite medical opinion that the autism sufferer was a suicide risk - in an appearance before the Home Affairs select committee. Johnson also restated his determination that the 43 year-old ought to be treated "fairly", The Daily Telegraph reports.

Johnson's decision is the subject of the latest in a series of judicial review challenges by the McKinnon legal team. Judges are yet to decide on whether to proceed with a full hearing.

The Home Secretary's appearance before MPs coincided with the latest of a series of demonstrations by McKinnon's family and well-wishers. Dozens of supporters joined McKinnon's mum Janis Sharp and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg in a protest outside the Home Office. The protesters called on the Home Secretary to rethink and urged reform of the controversial US-UK extradition treaty.

In a statement, Janis Sharp said: "Gary will not survive extradition. I am terrified that my vulnerable son has been given an effective death sentence under legislation designed for terrorists. The bitter irony is that real terrorists can’t be extradited as they’d face the death penalty."

"Day by day, Gary’s mental state deteriorates – no one, not even an animal, should be treated in this way," she added.

Following the demo, Sharp went to Buckingham Palace and presented a letter stating that the royal prerogative had been misused to ratify the extradition treaty with the US. The Daily Mail, which has campaigned on McKinnon's behalf, described the move as a last ditch appeal to the Queen on McKinnon's behalf. ®

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