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'Nasa hacker' McKinnon wins right to Lords hearing

'Nasa hacker' McKinnon wins right to Lords hearing

One last chance to avoid extradition to US

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Gary McKinnon, the ex-systems administrator accused of conducting the biggest military hack of all time, has won the right to have his case against extradition to the US heard by the House of Lords.

The decision gives McKinnon and legal team a fresh chance to challenge the extradition, having argued previously that the US authorities acted in an "oppressive" manner to secure his removal from the UK.

McKinnon has always maintained that, since the alleged offences took place in the UK, the UK is where he should stand trial. No date has been set for the House of Lords hearing and he remains on bail.

"Gary McKinnon is delighted to learn of this important development," said his barrister, Ben Cooper.

McKinnon, who is accused of causing £475,000 worth of damage to computers by hacking into systems belonging to the Pentagon, Nasa and the US military from his home in North London, could face a life sentence in jail with no chance of repatriation if he is extradited to the US.

At a hearing in February that went against McKinnon, his lawyers claimed that under human rights law he had a right to be tried in the UK.

They accused US investigators of trying to coerce McKinnon into accepting a secret plea bargain by threatening him with a long prison sentence if he did not collaborate.

McKinnon, who hacked into the US systems shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, is the first UK hacker to face extradition to the US. The case has been widely viewed as an attempt by US prosecutors to deter other would-be hackers.

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