McKinnon launches new extradition fight

By Ian Dunt

British computer hacker Gary McKinnon is launching a new legal bid to prevent his extradition to the United States today.

His lawyers will be concentrating on diagnosis last autumn of Asperger’s syndrome as evidence that extradition would create a risk of psychosis or suicide, an issue not taken into consideration when the home secretary allowed the move last year.

US government officials have accused Mr McKinnon of the “biggest military hack of all time”, but supporters claim the level of American dedication to his prosecution is inane, given he is a UFO conspiracy theorist rather than a terrorist.

Mr McKinnon admits hacking into US military and security systems in 2001-02 but says he was searching for a grainy black and white photo of a supposed alien spacecraft.

Today Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie will be asked to rule on whether the health risk constitutes a sufficient risk to prevent extradition.

“Gary McKinnon’s condition should justify more compassionate treatment than would otherwise be the case,” said Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne.

“It would not be fair to stick a vulnerable computer hacker with no malicious intent or previous conviction in an American Supermax prison before he has even been tried.”

If found guilty in an American court Mr McKinnon could face life in prison.