Hacker Gary McKinnon gets to fight extradition another day

Self-confessed British hacker Gary McKinnon, I am pleased to see, has won another chance to appeal against extradition to the US for trial and a possible imprisonment for breaking into US military computers.

According to the Free Gary blog, McKinnon’s lawyers have succeeded, “despite fierce opposition from the UK Government” in getting a court date for a judicial review of the decision to extradite Gary to the US on 20 January.

McKinnon’s lawyers filed the request in October after the Home Office rejected an appeal for the extradition to be set aside on health grounds because he has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Although McKinnon has admitted that he gained illegal entry to US military computers between 1999 and 2003, he has denied the alleged extent of his incursions or that he caused damage.

He claims he was just looking for evidence of UFOs, and who would not given the time, know-how and opportunity? Please post a comment and let us know what you think.

McKinnon has won strong support in opposing extradition. His MP, David Burrowes, has called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to intervene to ensure the hacker is not jailed in the US.

Burrowes is leading a campaign by several politicians to halt McKinnon’s extradition unless the US allows him to serve any sentence in Britain.

David Blunkett, former home secretary, is among supporters who have called for McKinnon to be repatriated immediately because the hacker has Asperger’s syndrome.

This week Burrowes asked during Prime Ministers’ questions if the PM will ensure UK citizens such as McKinnon are not routinely extradited.

Brown responded by saying the UK and the US are signatories to the Council of Europe convention on the transfer of sentenced persons, which enables a person found guilty in the US to serve their sentence in the UK.

Burrowes said, “I am pleased that the possibility of repatriation has been acknowledged by the Prime Minister and I will continue to press for this to become a reality.”

According to the Free Gary blog, a letter to president-elect Barack Obama will be handed in to the US embassy in London on 5 December.