In the Media

Gary McKinnon 'must answer serious criminal charges', Home Secretary says

PUBLISHED December 18, 2009

Gary McKinnon, the alleged computer hacker, must answer the serious criminal charges put to him by prosecutors in the United States, Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, has said. 
Mr Johnson stated his determination to see the 43-year-old is ''treated fairly'' as he appeared before MPs on the Home Affairs Committee.

Last week Mr McKinnon's lawyers applied for a judicial review of the Home Secretary's decision not to stop extradition on the grounds it breached his human rights.

Time to show just how flawed the US-UK extradition treaty really isThey say he is the victim of ''very severe depression'' and in danger of killing himself in preference to being extradited.

Mr Johnson had extended the time available for the appeal to be launched.

A judge will now decide whether the case is arguable and should go to a full hearing.

If that fails, the case could be taken to the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr Johnson told the committee: ''The fact that I stopped the clock once should be a clue in terms of my absolute determination to ensure Gary McKinnon is treated fairly.

''He is charged with very serious offences and he has to answer to those charges. But I am absolutely determined he will be treated fairly and has been treated fairly.''

Dozens of supporters, including Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, gathered outside the Home Office today to protest against Mr Johnson's decision not to stop the extradition.

Mr McKinnon's mother, Janis Sharp, said: ''Gary will not survive extradition.

''I am terrified that my vulnerable son has been given an effective death sentence under legislation designed for terrorists.

''Day by day, Gary's mental state deteriorates - no one, not even an animal, should be treated this way.''

Mr McKinnon admits hacking into Nasa and Pentagon computers. He says he was seeking evidence for UFOs.

He has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. His family fears he could face up to 60 years in a US prison if found guilty.