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Abu Hamza ruling clarifies McKinnon case

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The Abu Hamza ruling may affect the Gary McKinnon case by removing one of the arguments against trying the self-admitted hacker in the UK, according to McKinnon's mum.

Last week the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled to halt the extradition of Abu Hamza and Babar Ahmad and other Islamic militants to the US on human rights grounds.

Janis Sharp, McKinnon's mum, said the ruling helped clarify the status of her son's case by removing one of the arguments put forward by the previous government.

"At least for the moment the government can no longer use the Abu Hamza excuse as a reason not to keep Gary in the UK," Sharp told El Reg. "Alan Johnson previously said that if they allowed Gary to remain here that this could help Abu Hamza etc to fight extradition. I have always responded to this by saying that the ECHR would protect Abu Hamza and that the ECHR would not extradite Abu Hamza etc to the US, so Gary’s case would not affect any decision in Abu Hamza’s case."

The ECHR declined to intervene in the case against McKinnon two years ago as part of a long-running series of appeals in the case which remains ongoing. Incoming Home Secretary Theresa May is in the process of reviewing medical evidence that McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, is too mentally vulnerable to withstand the stress of extradition, trial and likely imprisonment in the US.

A block against any attempts to extradite McKinnon has been put in place pending the outcome of this review, the timetable for which is unclear.

More generally the coalition government is reviewing the UK-USA Extradition treaty, much criticised by McKinnon's supporters as one-sided and unfair.

The latest developments in McKinnon's campaign are detailed on the Free Gary support site here. ®

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