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McKinnon campaign urges coalition to block extradition

New ministers prodded to honour promises in opposition

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Family and supporters of accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon are hopeful that the new Lib-Con government will honour promises made in opposition and bring a halt to controversial extradition proceedings.

Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg supported the campaign against the extradition of the Asperger's sufferer to the US to stand trial for hack attacks against US military systems back in 2001. US authorities have sought the extradition of McKinnon since 2005.

Gary's mum Janis Sharp wrote to Clegg on Monday calling on the new coalition government to intervene in the case ahead of a judicial review on whether former home secretary Alan Johnson was correct in discounting expert medical opinion on McKinnon's fragile mental state in allowing extradition proceeding to proceed.

The judicial review - the latest in a long series of legal challenges in the case - is due to take place on May 25 and 26.

Sharp told the El Reg that the focus of the campaign has once more switched towards political lobbying.

"The focus has changed. I'm hoping for a positive outcome before then [the judicial review]. I'm very hopeful and trust Clegg, [Chris] Huhne, Dominic Grieve and the new coalition."

McKinnon's solicitor Karen Todner plans to ask incoming Home Secretary Theresa May, to reconsider the case, the Daily Mail reports. The paper adds that May was one of 160 Tory MPS who supported an unsuccessful opposition motion last year to reform extradition procedures between the US and UK.

Dominic Grieve, the new attorney general, will be a key player in any plans to modify the extradition treaty, which was designed to deal with the extradition of terrorist suspects and other serious criminals.

A joint program from the new coalition government promises sweeping civil liberties reform, including the abolition of the ID cards program and restrictions of the deployment of CCTV surveillance schemes. The coalition is yet to specifically address the question of reform of the US-UK extradition treaty, which allows Brits to be extradited to the US without the need for US authorities to present evidence but not the other way around.

McKinnon admits hacking into insecure US military systems in the hunt for UFO related evidence, but contests US damage assessments. McKinnon's supporters have consistently called for a UK trial during a five-year campaign. ®

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