More MPs back McKinnon in extradition battle

Gary McKinnon

A cross-party group of MPs has today asked Home Secretary Alan Johnson to step in and block the extradition to the US of admitted hacker Gary McKinnon.

Johnson has previously said he has no legal grounds to block the extradition, which many say shouldn't happen because McKinnon has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome after hacking the Pentagon and NASA.

Labour MP Michael Meacher, former shadow home secretary David Davis and Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne joined forces despite their party differences to try to convince Johnson in a meeting earlier today.

In a blog post, Mecher wrote: "Gary McKinnon's medical condition is such that medical experts have concluded that there is a grave risk to his health, and even to his life, if he is extradited to the US. There is no reason why he cannot face charges in the UK for an act which took place in the UK."

Meacher said that two "top human rights lawyers" from a firm called Matrix Chambers were commissioned to give their opinion on the case by the Daily Mail - which has been running a campaign to "save" McKinnon since this summer.

The lawyers found "that the Home Secretary not only has the power, but also the duty, to intervene in any extradition case even after the court process has ended if there is a real risk of a human rights breach should extradition proceed," Meacher said.

"This is contrary to the advice being given to Alan Johnson by the Legal Department within the Home Office that there was nothing he could do to prevent the extradition once the High Court had ruled that it could go ahead," he added.