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Old 12-02-2008, 02:58 PM   #394
Avalon Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: U.K.
Posts: 3,380
Default Re: Poor Gary Mckinnon, Tuesday December 2 2008 12.21 GMT
Hacker in final showdown to avoid extradition to USBriton accused of biggest hack in US military history wins delay in judicial review

The British man accused of hacking into US military computers will have his final showdown in the UK courts next month.

After almost four years of fighting extradition to the US as a result of what prosecutors have called "the biggest military computer hack of all time", Londoner Gary McKinnon will face a judicial review conducted by the high court on January 20.

McKinnon – who used the online name Solo – is accused of hacking into computers belonging to the Pentagon, Nasa and US armed forces in raids conducted between 2001 and 2002.

Prosecutors say he shut down thousands of machines and caused up to $700,000 worth of damage, while the 42-year-old claims he was searching for evidence of UFOs.

Over the course of the case, defence lawyers argued that McKinnon will face unduly harsh punishment for his actions and should instead face trial in the UK, since the alleged hacking attacks were conducted from a house in north London.

By the time the decision is made, it will be almost seven years since McKinnon ended his activities. During that time a succession of arguments have been made against his removal – including that he faces up to 60 years in prison or detention at Guantánamo Bay, and that he should receive leniency because he suffers from Aspberger's syndrome.

Such protestations have so far proved unsuccessful, however, with a string of decisions against him, including rulings by the law lords and the home secretary. McKinnon's last chance to avoid removal to the US will come in next month's judicial review.

Prosecutors acting for the government argued that McKinnon's review should take place today but his lawyers succeeded in pushing it back until the new year.

The news brought cheer to some campaigners who see the date as an auspicious sign. Coinciding with the inauguration of Barack Obama as president, supporters at the Free Gary website suggested the date could be the equivalent of "waving a couple of fingers" at the Bush administration.

In recent months campaigners – including former home secretary David Blunkett have argued that McKinnon should be tried in the UK because of his medical condition.

His supporters are hopeful that they can sway the final judgment, particularly after Gordon Brown spoke about the case publicly for the first time last week and hinted that McKinnon may not end up in a US jail.

During prime minister's questions last week, Brown was asked about McKinnon's situation and said that existing conventions would enable him to serve any prison sentence in Britain, rather than in the US.

"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 United States of America to serve their sentence in the UK," he told MPs.
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