Forty MPs from UK's main political parties have signed a letter to US President, Barack Obama, asking him to intervene personally to stop computer hacker Gary McKinnon, from being extradited to the US.
The MPs include the leaders of both opposition parties, Michael Ancram, Sir Patrick Cormack, Peter Bottomley, Sir Menzies Campbell, Labour MP Keith Vaz and several other high profile parliament members.
Karen Todner, Mr McKinnon's solicitor, told the press that she sent sent a letter to President Barack Obama on behalf of 40 members of a cross parliamentary group of MPs asking him to step in to bring this "shameful episode" to an end. She added that It was a "sad state of affairs" if the current "government cannot protect our most vulnerable citizens."
The move comes after Janis Sharp, the mother of Gary McKinnon, made a desperate plea to the President Obama to use his executive powers; "This is the Bush era, not the Obama era. Please hear us Obama" she said.
And rather interestingly, two diametrically opposed national newspapers, the Guardian and Daily Mail, have expressed their outrage at the stance adopted by the government. In its editorial, Comment is free, the Guardian wrote that "The case riles the public because it is part of a wider pattern – a pattern of British justice being compromised through a mix of cavalier disregard for civil liberties and slavish loyalty to the US."
On the other hand the Daily Mail focused on the role that the Home Secretary could play, saying that "Alan Johnson is under huge pressure to 'pluck up the courage' to save Gary McKinnon after judges warned he might kill himself if extradited." and published a list of "killers, hijackers and terrorists whose human rights DO count".
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Gary McKinnon hacked US government computers while living in North London just a few weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks using a 56k line. US Prosecutors said that the costs of damages caused by his actions ran into the millions.
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