The British government says it will not prevent the extradition of an autistic computer hacker accused of breaking into U.S. military computers.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson has confirmed that he will not intervene in the case of Gary McKinnon. a man that U.S. prosecutors say attempted to hack into computers shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Johnson said he had considered demands for him to intervene in the case but had decided that the extradition would not breach Glasgow-born Mr McKinnon’s human rights.
“If Mr McKinnon’s human rights would be breached, I must stop the extradition. If they would not be breached, the extradition must go ahead.” said Johnson
Mr McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, said Mr Johnson and the Government “should hang their heads in shame”.
His lawyers say he has a form of autism and is at risk of suicide if extradited. Johnson said U.S. authorities had assured him that they would meet McKinnon’s health needs.
Karen Todner, Mckinnon’s lawyer, said she planned to start a judicial review of the home secretary’s decision. “We cannot give up because in some ways it’s like dealing with a death row case, and we genuinely believe Gary’s life is at stake here,” she said.
Gary McKinnon is charged with breaking into dozens of computers belonging to NASA, the U.S. Defense Department and several branches of the U.S. military soon after the Sept. 11 attacks. U.S. prosecutors have spent seven years seeking his extradition.
The 43-year-old claims he was searching for evidence of alien life, although prosecutors say he left a message on an Army computer criticizing U.S. foreign policy.