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British hacker of US military to learn extradition fate next month

A British hacker will find out next month whether he will be extradited to the US for breaking into NASA and US military systems.

Gary McKinnon appeared in court in London this week, in the latest hearing to decide whether he should be extradited or face charges here.

His defence says there is a danger he could be charged under military law in line with tough US anti-terrorism laws, meaning he could technically be sent to Guantanamo Bay and face a military court. The defence said this is unacceptable for the charges he faces.

The US Embassy in London produced a note for the court stating that McKinnon would not face military charges, but the defence claimed there was no guarantee that this would be the case.

The case was adjourned until 10 May, when a final decision will be made on whether McKinnon can be extradited.

McKinnon is charged with illegally breaking into 97 US government computers, including systems run by NASA and the US military.

He is accused of causing $700,000 (£400,000) worth of damage over a 12-month period beginning in 2001.

McKinnon, a former systems administrator of north London, has admitted that he accessed some US military computers, but he has denied causing serious damage to them.

McKinnon, a UFO enthusiast, has claimed that he broke into government systems to see if there was any evidence of extraterrestrial life.


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