McKinnon Is "Suicide Risk", Extradition Case Postponed

The lawyers for Gary McKinnon have received a letter from the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, which says that Mr McKinnon would not be extradited until the DPP, Keir Starmer, considers his confessions.

The British hacker, whom the US authorities claimed to have caused nearly a million dollars worth of damage to their computers nearly eight years ago, has therefore been granted a slight reprieve of at least four weeks.

The BBC reports that McKinnon said after receiving the news from his solicitors that "It's been a good day overall", adding that "For a change it's slightly good news - a little ray of hope."

He could face up to 70 years in an American prison although the fact that he suffers from Asperger's syndrome, a mild type of autism, could convince the DPP that it would be more judicious to keep him in Britain. Furthermore, if he is charged an put on trial in the UK, he "only" runs the risk of a four-year prison sentence.

McKinnon, who is known as Solo, also runs the risk of committing suicide according one of his lawyers, Edward Fitzgerald QC. He added that the UFO fan's medical condition means that he is likely to become psychotic or harm himself if extradited to the US, far from his family.

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Our Comments

If McKinnon is extradited, he may appeal for a pardon from the newly elected US President, although the likelihood of that to happen is quite remote. When put in perspective, the predicament endured by McKinnon has been a very lengthy one, especially considering the sums involved and the negligible amount of damage cause. Ultimately, it is the battle of a single man against the system.

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