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UK government rejects Gary McKinnon extradition to US

16 Oct 2012

The government has today rejected the extradition request from the US government for hacker Gary McKinnon.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, home secretary Theresa May said that McKinnon's health issues – he suffers from Asperger's Syndrome – made it too much of a risk to extradite him.

"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 said.

"I have therefore withdrawn the extradition order against Mr McKinnon."

The decision was met with cheers and applause in the house.

She noted, though, that he could still face prosecution in the UK.

"It will now be for the director of public prosecutions to decide whether Mr McKinnon has a case to answer in a UK court," May added.

McKinnon’s lawyer Karen Todner welcomed the decision from May on Twitter.

The case around McKinnon centred on alleged hacks he made on US government computers in 2002 when looking for evidence of extraterrestrials. If he had been extradited to the US he could have faced the possibility of up to 60 years in jail.

The case has rumbled on for over a decade under successive governments with numerous delays and appeals in the case consistently pushing back the final decision on the case.

However, May's decision on Tuesday appears to have finally drawn a line under the case, much to the joy of McKinnon's supporters.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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