Nasa hacker McKinnon should not be extradited, say MPs

The powerful Home Affairs Select Committee has called for Nasa and Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon not to be extradited to the US.

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The powerful Home Affairs Select Committee of MPs has called for Nasa and Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon not to be extradited to the US.

In a letter to home secretary Alan Johnson, committee chairman Keith Vaz cited McKinnon's “precarious state of mental health”.

He wrote that “the committee is of the view that he should not be extradited to the USA and that you [Johnson] should exercise your discretion in this case”.

The call followed an evidence session earlier this week when McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, warned that her son would “rather be dead” than sent for trial in the US.

Johnson had previously argued he cannot stop extradition proceedings, though he is currently assessing new medical evidence on McKinnon.

The committee said there needed to be a “comprehensive review” of the Extradition Treaty under which McKinnon could be sent for trial in the US. There was a “serious lack of equality” between the ways the US and UK used the treaty, it argued.

But the home office denied there was an imbalance or a need to review the treaty.

McKinnon, 43, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, has admitted to the hacking but said he was looking for evidence of UFOs rather than trying to cause damage.

Last month he lost a key legal battle to take his claim to stay in the UK to the Supreme Court. But the claim may re-emerge in the European Court of Human Rights, which could question the legal grounds considering McKinnon’s mental state.

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