Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that Gary McKinnon, who was accused of hacking into the Pentagon’s computer network, will not be extradited to the US. The move is due to the risk of McKinnon ending his own life.
The home secretary said that there is no doubt McKinnon is seriously ill, that she carefully examined the medical evidence and took legal advice, concluding that his extradition would pose such a high risk that he would end his life, which restricts his human rights.
McKinnon, 46, suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. If convicted in the US, he could face up to 60 years in jail.
The case of McKinnon has become the first time the British government has refused to extradite someone across the Atlantic since the existing UK-USA extradition treaty came into force in January 2004, The Independent reports.
The agreement is largely contested by dozens of British MPs, who call the current policy one-sided, basically meaning Washington can demand anyone's extradition without proof, while London is obliged to obey. The treaty makes it far easier for the USA to take people from the UK than the other way around.
In a treaty with the US, the Americans must only show “reasonable suspicion” if they want to extradite a Briton – compared with “probable cause” going the other way. As a result, more Britons have been extradited than Americans. . . .
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