James Slack and Michael Seamark
Gary McKinnon is to be saved from the threat of immediate extradition as early as today.
Home Secretary Theresa May believes a court case to send the vulnerable hacker to the U.S. – due to begin in a few days – should be halted.
Her intervention gives Gary – who is backed by the Daily Mail’s Affront to British Justice campaign – a vital new chance to plead the case for being dealt with in the UK.
Without it, the Asperger’s sufferer would have been extradited within weeks to a foreign jail, where it is feared he would be almost certain to take his own life.
Gary faces up to 60 years imprisonment on charges of hacking into U.S. military computers.
Psychiatrists have warned that the 44-year-old – who was looking for evidence of ‘little green men’ – will kill himself if sent to America under the ‘lopsided’ Extradition Act 2003.
A succession of Labour home secretaries had abandoned Gary to his fate despite the desperate warnings about the state of his mental health.
But after the Mail’s vigorous campaign, which was launched ten months ago and is supported by civil liberties groups, autism charities, celebrities and scores of MPs, Mrs May is understood to want a rethink.
She will now reconsider the medical case for keeping Gary here, where he has agreed to be tried for his ‘crimes’.
This reflects a request made by Gary’s legal team last week for the new Government to look at the case afresh.
Mrs May’s decision will be formally put to Gary’s legal team as early as today, under a process which requires them to agree to adjourn the court case.
The judicial review of former home secretary Alan Johnson’s refusal to intervene had been due to begin next week and was virtually a last throw of the legal dice.
If it is adjourned Mrs May can then begin formal consideration of the mountain of medical evidence that Gary is unfit to be extradited.
If it is established that he cannot be allowed to go, it opens the door to a prosecution in the UK.
Last night Gary’s mother Janis Sharp said: ‘Obviously, the Home Secretary reconsidering the case would be good news but we will only be happy if we are told it is all over.’
His solicitor Karen Todner, of Kaim Todner, said: ‘The legal team is extremely pleased that the Home Secretary appears to have appreciated that she is able to exercise discretion in relation to Mr McKinnon.
‘We will make further representations to her in the hope that she will stop this extradition.’
View the original article at freegary.org.uk