Gary McKinnon saved from extradition after ten year fight

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
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Gary McKinnon, the British hacker who has been fighting a high profile campaign for ten years to avoid extradition to the United States, has had his extradition blocked by the UK government.

Theresa May, the British Home Secretary, told MPs at the House of Commons that the extradition would be blocked for human rights reasons, as there are concerns that 46-year-old McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, would commit suicide if sent for trial in America.

Commons statement by Theresa May

Here’s part of what Theresa May told the House of Commons:

Mr McKinnon is accused of serious crimes. But there is also no doubt that he is seriously ill. He has Asperger’s Syndrome, and suffers from depressive illness. The legal question before me is now whether the extent of that illness is sufficient to preclude extradition.

After careful consideration of all of the relevant material, I have concluded that Mr McKinnon’s extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon’s human rights.

I have therefore withdrawn the extradition order against Mr McKinnon.

46-year-old McKinnon, who has Asperger’s syndrome, has admitted hacking into United States military systems in late 2001 – but claims that he was hunting for evidence of UFOs, anti-gravity propulsion systems and extraterrestial technology.

The UK authorities will now decide if McKinnon should face charges in Britain.

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Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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