MPs back McKinnon against extradition

Gary McKinnon

The Home Affairs Committee has called for Home Secretary Alan Johnson to halt the extradition of admitted hacker Gary McKinnon.

McKinnon admits hacking into the Pentagon and NASA, but has argued his Asperger's Syndrome means he should be tried in the UK rather than extradited to the US.

After McKinnon was denied another legal appeal last month, Johnson put the extradition on hold, in order to further examine medical evidence suggesting the hacker is suicidal.

But earlier this week, the Home Secretary said there was little he could do to prevent McKinnon being sent to the US for trial, unless the medical reports show that it would be against the hacker's human rights.

Yesterday, the Home Affairs Select Committee said the extradition should not go through.

"Because of Mr McKinnon's precarious state of mental health, the Committee is of the view that he should not be extradited to the USA and that you should exercise your discretion in this case," the committee's chair Keith Vaz wrote in a letter to Johnson.

Vaz said the extradition treaty between the US and the UK was unbalanced.

"The committee remains concerned that there is a serious lack of equality in the way the Treaty's provisions apply to UK, as opposed to American, citizens," Vaz wrote.

The Home Office has frequently said that the treaty is not the issue, and stressed that it's down to Johnson to decide if shipping McKinnon to the US would break EU human rights laws.

"Unless the evidence shows that extradition would breach the European Convention on Human Rights it would be unlawful to refuse extradition," a Home Office spokesperson said.

Read on for the whole story of Gary McKinnon's legal battle.