British hacker Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to face charges in the US, following a 10-year battle against the process, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced.
The 46-year-old, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, is “seriously ill” and being shipped to the US, where he faced up to 60 years in prison if found guilty, would present serious risks to his health, the government found. Accordingly, the extradition warrant was blocked on humanitarian grounds, the BBC has reported (opens in new tab).
"Mr McKinnon is accused of serious crimes. But there is also no doubt that he is seriously ill,” said May.
"After careful consideration of all of the relevant material, I have concluded that Mr McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon's human rights,” she continued/.9
(opens in new tab)Keir Starmer QC, director of public prosecutions, must now decide whether or not McKinnon should stand trial in the UK, on charges he breached US government computers. The hacker has admitted to accessing American military computers, but insists he was searching for evidence proving the existence of UFOs.
Meanwhile, US authorities described his breach of government computer systems as "biggest military computer hack of all time” and have said it was "intentional and calculated to influence and affect the US government by intimidation and coercion."