Home secretary Theresa May rules on hacker Gary McKinnon’s US extradition

Home secretary Theresa May is to rule on self-confessed computer hacker Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US

Home secretary Theresa May is to announce a decision on self-confessed computer hacker Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US.

At the same time, Theresa May is expected to announce changes to the UK’s extradition arrangements with the US, which have come under increasing criticism for bias in favour of the US.

In September, home secretary May told Parliament the coalition agreement committed the government to reviewing the UK's extradition arrangements worldwide to ensure it operates effectively and in the interests of justice.

The review follows several incidents where UK citizens have been extradited to face trial for offences that would either not have been crimes in the UK, or which would attract a very small penalty.

Gary McKinnon admits accessing US government computers in 2001 and 2002, but denies causing damage and claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs.

US authorities have demanded McKinnon face justice in the US for what it calls "the biggest military computer hack of all time". The US government claims Gary McKinnon's actions caused $800,000 worth of damage to military computer systems.

The 46-year-old north Londoner, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, has been fighting extradition since 2006.

McKinnon wants to face trial in the UK and, according to the Daily Mail, the home secretary is planning to introduce a measure that could make it more likely for UK citizens to be tried in a court.

The introduction of the so-called forum bar means a court hearing would have to be held to decide where a person should stand trial.

The home secretary could halt the extradition on human rights grounds based on the latest medical report. But if May allows the extradition to go ahead, McKinnon’s lawyers plan to apply for a judicial review to challenge the decision, according to the BBC.

A provisional hearing date has been set in the High Court for 28 and 29 November.

Read more on Hackers and cybercrime prevention

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