In the Media

Alleged hacker Ryan Cleary to be tried in UK not US

PUBLISHED June 15, 2012

Ryan Cleary, 19, who has Asperger's syndrome, is alleged to have been in involved in attacks on the computer systems of the CIA, the US Senate and Sony and on the social networking site Facebook.

He was charged last year with a string of cyber attacks on UK - based websites and his solicitor disclosed yesterday (FRI) that he is now subject to an indictment with the same charges in the US.

However, Karen Todner added: "We understand that the US Prosecutor has stated that should Mr Cleary be dealt with by the UK courts in respect of these charges then the US will not seek Mr Cleary's extradition."

Cleary's case has parallels with that of Gary McKinnon, the computer hacker who has fought a ten-year battle against extradition to the US, where he faces up to 60 years in jail if convicted.

Glasgow-born McKinnon, who also suffers from Asperger's syndrome, admits breaching the systems but denies causing damage and claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs

American officials have demanded that he is tried in the US despite ongoing wrangling between legal and medical experts about whether or not the 46-year-old would pose a suicide risk.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is expected to make a decision about whether to allow extradition by the end of July.

Cleary, the son of a college lecturer from Wickford, Essex, is alleged to have been a member of a hacking group called LulzSec and was charged with five offences under the Criminal Law Act and Computer Misuse Act, including an attack on the website of the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

He is accused of conspiring with three others to create a remotely-controlled network of zombie computers, known as a "botnet", which crashes websites.

Miss Todner, who also represents McKinnon, said that the decision to prosecute him in the UK was the right one and proof that it could be done.

"Cleary has always co-operated with British police on the basis that he would not be extradited," she said.

"It is the proper application of law and shows that it is possible to prosecute here, so why isn't it the same for McKinnon?

"British police arrested and interviewed McKinnon but then just decided to hand it over to the US."

Miss Todner said no decision had been made about whether Cleary would deny or accept the charges but said that if any application was made for his extradition it would be "fiercely" contested.

"Mr Cleary suffers from Asperger's syndrome and is on the autistic spectrum and extradition to the United States is totally undesirable," she added.

A US embassy spokesman said: "The US is not making any request of the UK regarding Ryan Cleary's extradition at this time."

The spokesman added: "No legal medical documentation or evidence has been officially presented to us to suggest that Mr McKinnon has a medical condition that should be taken into consideration in our request for his extradition."

Janis Sharp, McKinnon's mother, insisted he had been subjected to tests by five separate medical experts, all of whom were "supposed to be independent" and whom had diagnosed Asperger's and that he was a suicide risk and was unfit to stand trial in the US.