Computer hacker Gary McKinnon loses fight to stand trial in UK

By | October 11, 2009

McKinnon refused supreme court appeal against to US on charges of breaking into military networks

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon lost his long battle to stand trial in the UK today when he was refused permission to appeal to the supreme court against extradition to the US on charges of breaking into the Pentagon’s military networks.

The court decided the case did not raise “points of law of general public importance”, which are neccessary if a case is to be pursued at the higher level.

The decision extinguishes McKinnon’s legal options in the UK, but his lawyers said they would now consider applying to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.

Giving the court’s decision, Lord Justice Stanley Burnton, who heard McKinnon’s latest appeal earlier this year with Mr Justice Wilkie, said extradition was “a lawful and proportionate response” to his alleged offending.

He said McKinnon would be unlikely to succeed with his claim that extradition would breach his right to a private and family life, under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Nor did the court think that extradition to the US would be a breach of his right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment under Article 3.

McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, said the decision was “devoid of humanity”.

“No other country in the world would so readily offer its citizens to the US as sacrificial lambs merely to safeguard a ‘special political relationship’.

“To use my desperately vulnerable son in this way is despicable, immoral and devoid of humanity.”

McKinnon’s solicitor, Karen Todner, said the trial was having a “devastating” effect on the 43-year-old’s health. “He is a highly vulnerable man in a very fragile state and this is a huge blow to him and his family,” she said.

“Why is our government so inhumane as to allow this to happen to someone, particularly someone with Asperger’s, a form of autism? This is the wholesale destruction and bullying of a small individual by the United States and now our own government.

“Our extradition treaty with the US is unfair and prejudicial to UK citizens and should be repealed or amended immediately.”

Todner said every further avenue, including the European court, would be explored.

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