#Human Rights
United Kingdom

The mother of computer hacker Gary McKinnon made an impassioned appeal to US president Barack Obama today after her son failed in his latest High Court bid to avoid extradition to America.

The 43-year-old, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome (AS), is wanted for trial on charges of hacking into US military networks.

His mother, Janis Sharp, has expressed fears that he could face a 60-year sentence in a tough US jail and would be at real risk of suicide because of his medical condition. She also fears she would never see him again.

But today Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie, sitting in London, dismissed his claim for judicial review.

The Daily Mail has led a high-profile campaign to prevent Mr McKinnon's extradition which has received widespread backing from politicians, celebrities and civil liberties campaigners.

Mr McKinnon, from Wood Green, North London, asked the court to overturn decisions of successive Home Secretaries allowing his extradition to go ahead.

He also challenged a refusal by Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), to put him on trial in the UK on charges of computer misuse. UK trial would allow him to avoid extradition.

Lord Justice Burnton said: 'For the reasons set out in the judgment the claims against the secretary of state and DPP are dismissed.' In a 41-page ruling, the judges said extradition was 'a lawful and proportionate response to his offending'.

Whether or not Mr McKinnon can appeal further will be decided at a later date.

Lord Justice Burnton said it was a matter that should be dealt with 'as expeditiously as possible', probably in September.

Mr McKinnon was not in court today to hear the judgment.
Gary McKinnon

Gary McKinnon, 43, today lost his appeal against extradition to the U.S.

Ms Sharp, said outside court: 'We are heartbroken. If the law says it's fair to destroy someone's life in this way then it's a bad law.'

She added: 'Our hope still lies with the Government. What more evidence do Gordon Brown and Alan Johnson need to understand what extraditing Gary would do to him, let alone us?

'Gary would not survive and I would never see my son again. All to oblige the Americans?

'If Gary's was such a dreadful crime, he should have been prosecuted and sentenced here years ago.

'Instead he's been left tortured by fear for seven years. Compassion can and must now prevail.'

She made an impassioned appeal to Barack Obama to halt attempts to extradite her son.

His lawyers today sent a letter to the U.S. President signed by 40 British MPs asking him to step in and 'bring this shameful episode to an end'.

She said: 'Stand by us and make this world a better place, a more compassionate place.
An affront to justice

'Obama wouldn't have this. He doesn't want the first guy extradited for computer misuse to be a guy with Asperger's, a UFO guy. He wouldn't want this.

'I'm just praying, please hear us, Obama, because I know you would do the right thing.

'I know you would have the strength to stand up and not have this.'

Lawyers for Mr McKinnon, who was told the decision yesterday, described him as an 'UFO eccentric' who had been searching for evidence of extra-terrestrial life, and described the idea that he was a danger to U.S. national security as 'a complete fantasy'.

Karen Todner, Mr McKinnon's solicitor, said: 'This ruling is hugely disappointing. But we shall not stop here.

'Alan Johnson still has the power to act. We have 28 days to review the judgment and will continue to explore every legal avenue until we achieve a just and proper result.

'The Government promised "ample protection" of individuals' rights, but we have yet to see this in practice.

'Extradition without effective safeguards is a denial of justice for every UK citizen.'

If sent to the U.S., Mr McKinnon is likely to receive a substantial prison sentence of up to 12 years, possibly served in a Supermax prison used for high risk inmates, and is unlikely to be repatriated to serve his sentence.

The U.S. authorities said Mr McKinnon was responsible for the 'biggest military hack of all time' that had been highly damaging and involved 97 government computers belonging to organisations including the U.S. Navy and Nasa.

We, the undersigned, call on the Prime Minster Of the UK and Alan Johnson and the UK Government, for Gary to be tried in the UK- FREE GARY.

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The Sign up 4 Gary McKinnon petition to worldwide was written by Kevin Healey and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.

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autism Asperger Gary