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New Home Secretary "Powerless" To Stop McKinnon Extradition

In what could be seen as a prelude to the end of extradition fight from the self-confessed hacker Gary McKinnon, the newly appointed home secretary Alan Johnson is apparently not in a position to stop the extradition of McKinnon to the US, the High Court heard.

Adding woes to the injury, Hugo Keith QC, acting for the home secretary, said that the government could find no reason to forbid the extradition even if it was capable to do so.

However, the court has already been presented with evidences from a couple of world’s renowned autism experts that Gary McKinnon is suffering from a psychological disorder Asperger’s Syndrome.

But the home secretary could only interfere on medical grounds if McKinnon suffered more severe consequences than those forecasted by medical experts, the court heard. Backing the same, Keith said, “To engage the [European Human Rights] convention, the suffering must be great”.

Furthermore, McKinnon’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, QC, informed the court that there was “clear, uncontradicted expert evidence” that the stress induced due to extradition could eventually lead to pyschosis or even suicide.

Charging former home secretary Jacqui Smith for reaching to “flawed decision” in the wake of evidences of poor medical condition of the hacker, Fitzgerald told: “She underestimated the gravity of the situation without obtaining evidence of her own. She is simply not addressing the issue”.


Our Comments

The court asserted that it will decide a date to hear the further judicial review of the decision made by director of public prosecutions (DPP) to not to try McKinnon in UK. Is it a further example of judicial cowardice by the government?

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.