Gary Mckinnon Extradition To US Blocked By UK Home Secretary
from the hacker-stay-home dept
Way back in 2002, Gary McKinnon made his Techdirt debut when he was caught hacking into NASA and Pentagon computers from the UK in an apparent attempt to find evidence that America was covering up evidence of UFOs. Since that story, subsequent stories were done on how he basically went on an appeal-losing-tour to avoid being extradited to the United States. But now, despite all those losses, it appears the United Kingdom's version of Fox Mulder will indeed be staying in the UK and not be trotted off to the States.
UK Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that McKinnon will not be extradited due to mental illness and a fear for his safety. McKinnon reportedly suffers from both depression and Asperger's Syndrome, and experts consulting with May believe that he is a significant suicide risk if extradited.
Mrs May said: “After careful consideration of all of the relevant material I have concluded that Mr McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon's human rights. I have therefore withdrawn the extradition order against Mr McKinnon.”
Mrs May also said measures would be taken to enable a UK court to decide whether a person should stand trial in the UK or abroad – a so-called forum bar.
This move is immensely significant, as it represents the first time an extradition was blocked by a Home Secretary under the Extradition Act of 2003. As extraditions over alleged computer and IP crimes have come into vogue, with the United States leading the charge, it's a welcome sign that the UK wants to be able to review cases in which their citizens would potentially be carted across the world to face massive prison sentences (or worse). One would hope similar scrutiny would be applied in the case of Richard O'Dwyer, though Theresa May has thus far failed to do so. Instead, she has so far bowed to the will of the United States and MPAA sock puppetry in extraditing him.
To be clear, none of this suggests that McKinnon will not face a trial at home. In fact, according to May, the UK will now decide whether to bring a case against him at home.
She said it was now for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, to decide whether he should face trial in the UK.
Where he can be tried without the added threat to his well-being. A foreign national, accused of computer crimes against the United States facing trial in his home country. How refreshing.