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Thursday, December 1, 2011

UK Might Change Extradition Law For Hacker

Members of Parliament have demanded a common sense approach to overrule American efforts to extradite hacker named Gary McKinnon. During a parliamentary debate about extradition practices, one of the MPs was calling for changes to the legislation in place with the United States.

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Gary McKinnon, suffering from Aspergers syndrome, is currently awaiting a decision on his fate by the Home Secretary. The guy was allegedly caught hacking into Pentagon – the plaintiffs accused him of looking for little green men from space. Thus far, there’ve been a lot of vociferous calls for a change to laws that could make the hacker sentenced to many years in prison abroad.

The UK MPs said that they have legislation in place to inject some common sense and discretion into this particular case and other similar cases. They pointed out that the government should bring that into force as a matter of priority. MPs also believe that the United Kingdom should be allowed to use its own discretion to reject extradition in some cross border cases, and they should be able to consider the entire picture rather than only legal wrangling.

As for this particular case, the MPs contended that Gary McKinnon was more misfit than terrorist, which means that he couldn’t be equated with some al-Qaeda suspect or gangster. So, the Ministers are still debating whether to bow to the demands of the United States to send McKinnon over to a life in an American jail. The United States has discretionary extradition legislation in place with a number of other countries, like Brazil, Mexico and Australia, able to make up their own minds.

In spite of the claims in the recent Baker report which claimed that extradition legislation with the United States are quite balanced, it certainly begs the question of why the Americans can drag UK citizens across the Atlantic. The MPs questioned why the UK, “a stalwart ally”, should not ask for some modest adjustment to existing laws.

McKinnon’s constituency, David Burrowes, claimed in Parliament that there had been a statistical disparity with several citizens sent to the US, compared to the number of those extradited to the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the National Autistic Society backs calls to keep the hacker in the UK and strongly believes that the case should be stopped and McKinnon should be allowed to stand trial in the United Kingdom.

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