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McKinnon's mum stands against Straw at general election

Fights against 'Nazi style police state'

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Gary McKinnon's mum is standing for Parliament against Jack Straw in the UK's upcoming general election.

Straw holds an 8,000 majority in his Blackburn constituency, which Labour has held since the 1950s. Sharp, standing as an independent candidate, is realistic enough to know she can't win but is nonetheless running because "it's important to stand against erosion of civil liberties".

Sharp cites the Justice Secretary's backing for trial without jury and his support for the extradition of her son to the US on hacking charges in her campaign.

Sharp also criticised Straw for opposing the extradition of former Chilian dictator Augusto Pinochet while supporting extradition without evidence in more recent cases, such as her son's.

Straw was foreign secretary at the time of negotiations with the US that resulted in the controversial Extradition Act in 2003, under which McKinnon's case has been processed. McKinnon, who was first arrested in 2002, has been fighting extradition since 2005.

"The fact that the Gary McKinnon extradition case has exceeded the lifetime of this current Parliament, is a scandal which belies any promises of swift or fair justice, made by this Labour government," the Free Gary support blog notes in a post on Sharp's run at Parliament.

A BBC interview with Sharp explaining her stand in greater depth can be found here.

Sharp, who lives in Hertfordshire, told The Register that she has a number of ties to the Blackburn area. "My sister lives in Manchester," she said. "A best friend musician James Litherland is from there. My aunt lived there for most of her life and ran a limousine hire company."

McKinnon faces the latest in a long series of court hearings on 25 and 26 May, three weeks after the general election. The next two months promise to be extremely busy and stressful for Sharp, a point she readily acknowledges. "It's something I feel I have to do. If we don't stand up we all might wake up in a Nazi style police state," she said. ®

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