Gary McKinnon suicide fear after home secretary rules hacker must be sent to US

Supporters of computer hacker Gary McKinnon...

Supporters of computer hacker Gary McKinnon are concerned that he may take his own life after home secretary Alan Johnson rejected a last-ditch attempt to stop his extradition to the US.

Johnson has ordered McKinnon's transfer to the US to face charges of breaking into and damaging US military and Nasa computers, despite fears the move could push him over the edge.

The order said, "The secretary of state is of the firm view that McKinnon's extradition would not be incompatible with his [human] rights," according to the Guardian.

Johnson rejected new medical evidence that McKinnon's health had deteriorated dramatically since losing his case in the High Court in July, and meant that extradition would violate his right to life.

The order comes just two weeks after the Home Affairs Select Committee told Johnson he should stop the extradition on compassionate grounds.

Johnson told the committee his only discretion to intervene was under the Human Rights Act and he would consider whether the Act gave him that power in respect of McKinnon's mental health.

The home secretary had previously refused to prevent McKinnon's extradition under the same Act in respect of the hacker's vulnerable mental condition as someone who has Asperger's syndrome.

The committee said after hearing evidence from the hacker's mother, Janis Sharp, that McKinnon's mind was too fragile to withstand extradition.

McKinnon's lawyer, Karen Todner, said the decision to allow the extradition was "callous" and his mother reiterated that her son was at risk of suicide and she is extremely worried about him.

Todner said she planned to start a judicial review of the home secretary's decision and would not give up because she believes McKinnon's life is at stake.



Enjoy the benefits of CW+ membership, learn more and join.

Read more on IT legislation and regulation

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.