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US rejected Brown's McKinnon case plea

Gordon got short shrift on extradition, Wikileaked files show

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The US authorities spurned a personal plea by former prime minister Gordon Brown to allow Gary McKinnon to serve any sentence in the UK, according to Wikileaks files.

MPs on the Home Affairs select committee are to once again consider the McKinnon extradition case today.

Brown proposed the deal in a meeting with the US ambassador in August 2009, according to a leaked cable, The Guardian reports. The plea went nowhere possibly because the US was in no mood to grant such favours shortly after the UK allowed convicted Lockerbie bomber, Ali Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, an early release from prison to return to Libya.

The mother of the alleged Pentagon hacker, Janis Sharp, is due to testify at a parliamentary hearing to review controversial extradition laws between the UK and US on Tuesday. Campaigners argue the extradition rules were put in place to combat terrorism but have wound up being applied to cases such as McKinnon's, whose eccentric hack into wide-open US military systems hunting for UFO evidence allegedly disrupted operation at a naval resupply facility, and fraud cases.

There is also concern that US authorities can request extradition without presenting evidence while UK authorities would be required to file evidence to a US court.

A High Court hearing considering whether fresh medical evidence on McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, was adjourned in May while the new Home Secretary Theresa May reviews the case.

Doctors argue that McKinnon's already fragile mental state would be likely to collapse if he were subjected to the rigours of a US extradition, trial and likely imprisonment. Family and friends have campaigned for the last eight years, since his initial arrest, for him to be tried in the UK, if anywhere.

Other witnesses due to give evidence to the Home Affairs select committee on Tuesday include former Home Secretary David Blunkett, who signed the treaty, and Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil liberties group Liberty. ®

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