Gary McKinnon Wins Right to Appeal Against Extradition

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We’ve been following the case of the ‘NASA Hacker’ Gary McKinnon since it started in April 2006 when we reported the British Hacker Gary McKinnon Fears Guantanamo.

So you can see the case has been going on for quite some time, the most recent news we published about it was UK Hacker Gary McKinnon Loses Appeal Against Extradition.

But now, the most recent turn of events is that he’s won the right to appeal against extradition, which I guess is quite a big deal for him.

Gary McKinnon, the man accused by U.S. prosecutors of “the biggest military hack of all time,” has won the right to a judicial review of a Home Office decision to extradite him to the U.S.

Lord Justice Maurice Kay made the ruling at the High Court in London on Friday. The Home Office had refused to halt the extradition proceedings, despite McKinnon having been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition on the autistic spectrum.

McKinnon’s solicitor Karen Todner told ZDNet UK on Friday that she was “very pleased” about the High Court decision.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Todner said. “We’ve got permission for a judicial review, and that shows we have an arguable case.”

McKinnon’s legal team applied for the review on the grounds that McKinnon’s medical condition had not been taken into account by the Home Office or any UK court in deciding his extradition. If convicted by the U.S., McKinnon faces a 70-year sentence in a maximum security prison, his barrister Edward Fitzgearld QC has argued.

It seems like they brought up his medical condition (Asperger’s) as an excuse to appeal against extradition, although I can’t blame them as the possible 70 year sentence does seem a little on the extrame to say he didn’t do any real damage.

Hopefully the judicial review will actually apply some common sense to the case and make a decent logical decision based on McKinnon’s actual crime, circumstance and condition.

Todner said the review was granted on the grounds that the extradition may breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that no one shall be subjected to “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Professor Simon Baron Cohen, the Cambridge University specialist in developmental psychopathology who initially diagnosed McKinnon, said on Tuesday that McKinnon suffered the risk of “psychiatric difficulties” including depression and anxiety should he be extradited and imprisoned.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith turned down McKinnon’s second appeal against extradition in October 2008, after the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome in summer 2008.

The judicial review will not take place until after the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has decided whether to charge McKinnon. McKinnon sent a signed confession to Starmer in December admitting offenses under Section 2 of the Computer Misuse Act, in the hope of being prosecuted under UK law.

It looks like if he plays his cards right he might be able to get prosecuted under the Computer Misuse Act, under UK law rather than being tried as a terrorist in the US (which would obviously yield a much harsher sentence).

It’s taking a long time to pan out though, I wouldn’t like to be in McKinnon’s position right now either way – the big dogs are gunning for him and he’s gonna take some kind of fall.

Source: Cnet (Thanks Navin)

Posted in: Hacking News, Legal Issues

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3 Responses to Gary McKinnon Wins Right to Appeal Against Extradition

  1. navin January 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    cheers!! :)

  2. Bogwitch January 27, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    “Professor Simon Baron Cohen, the Cambridge University specialist in developmental psychopathology who initially diagnosed McKinnon, said on Tuesday that McKinnon suffered the risk of

  3. Morgan Storey January 30, 2009 at 1:23 am #

    Good to hear he got a stay of execution. I would use any excuse too in his position.
    At least with Obama closing Gitmo he won’t go there…