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Monday, October 22, 2012

Hacker Will Hear His Extradition Verdict

Gary McKinnon is expected to hear a verdict from the Home Office on his extradition to the United States this week, after 10 years wait. His lawyer confirmed that a ruling would finally be handed down over extraditing the UK citizen to face charges for hacking into American government networks.

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Janis Sharp, the mother of the UK resident, has spent the last decade fighting the efforts to extradite McKinnon, who was alleged of breaking into US military and NASA PCs. She has repeatedly claimed that her son, Asperger’s sufferer, would be at severe risk of suicide if extradited to another country. Industry experts believe that he might face a sentence of up to sixty years for hacking. Although McKinnon’s mother contends that he should indeed stand trial for what he had done, her son should face a judgement in the United Kingdom.

This case has drawn the backing of prominent British MPs and has even led to an appeal to the Prime Minister to discuss the matter directly with Barack Obama. Indeed, this lawsuit has been lively discussed by MPs who question the existing extradition treaties between the United Kingdom and the United States. The observers claim that the current rules are one sided in favor of the United States, with the Americans being considered very unlikely to be extradited to the United Kingdom.

Successive Home Secretaries faced the issue of McKinnon’s extradition. In the meantime, the authorities of the United States have been standing their ground: the hacker should be extradited to their country, and now Conservative Theresa May has to make a final decision over whether to satisfy those demands.

Theresa May has already delivered a number of extradition rulings within the past few weeks: for example, in the high profile case of radical cleric Abu Hamza she decided the defendant should be extradited, while in another contentious case (of Abu Qatada) she for some reason decided that the defendant could be allowed to stay in the United Kingdom.

In the meantime, Theresa May is also expected to announce her decision verdict on demands from the American Justice Department to extradite the British resident Richard O’Dwyer for piracy offences. A verdict on McKinnon’s case is expected to be delivered this week.

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