Sunday, 2 August 2009

Home Secretary: I can't stop Garry McKinnon's extradition

The judgment handed down by the High Court on Friday on the Gary McKinnon case was clear. It upheld the decision of the Home Office — that extraditing McKinnon did not constitute a breach of his human rights as defined by the European convention. It emphasises the fact that it would be unlawful for the home secretary to intervene to prevent his extradition.

The court was equally clear that he should be tried in the United States because the crimes he is accused of committing — although they were conducted from a computer in his bedroom in the UK — did not remotely affect people in this country. They affected critical government security systems in America.

This case has provoked strong feelings — and it is understandable why many are sympathetic to the cause of someone who appears simply to be a misguided, vulnerable young man who has Asperger’s syndrome. I can make no pronouncement of McKinnon’s guilt or innocence. But the crimes he is accused of are far from trivial and he should be tried fairly for them in a court of law and in the country where the impact of those crimes was felt. As the High Court judgment makes clear, McKinnon will not, if convicted, serve any of his sentence in a “supermax” prison. Read more
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