New Home Secretary adjourns Gary McKinnon extradition review
HOME Secretary Theresa May has adjourned a planned judicial review into the case of a computer hacker who could be extradited to the United States, his lawyer said today.
• McKinnon carried out "the biggest military computer hack of all time"
Glasgow-born Gary McKinnon, 44, from Wood Green, north London, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, is challenging a US bid to extradite him on charges of hacking into highly sensitive military computers.
His lawyer Karen Todner said: "The Secretary of State, having recently taken office and having received further representations from the claimant's representatives, wishes to have appropriate time fully to consider the issues in the case."
She added that she hopes the decision is "a signal of a more compassionate and caring Home Secretary".
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The Home Secretary has considered the proposal from Gary McKinnon's legal team and has agreed an adjournment should be sought. An application to the court is being made today."
Mr McKinnon's legal team were due at the High Court next Tuesday, where a judge was expected to decide if their latest challenge should go to a full hearing.
Ms Todner said previously there was new evidence showing McKinnon was suicidal and could not survive the American prison system.
His lawyers have fought a long-running series of court battles, and this was expected to be his last-ditch bid to avoid extradition.
The legal challenge was against the decision of then home secretary Alan Johnson in December not to block the extradition on medical grounds.
Mr Johnson refused to halt McKinnon's removal, saying he was "of the firm view" that extradition would not be incompatible with his human rights, and "extradition to the United States must proceed forthwith".
The UK has received a guarantee from the US government that the computer hacker will receive "appropriate medical care and treatment", including counselling and medication.
McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp ran against Jack Straw, who was foreign secretary when Britain's current extradition treaty was agreed with the United States, in the recent election.
She received 173 votes.
Her son was accused in 2002 of using his home computer to hack into 97 American military and Nasa computers, causing damage that the US government claims will cost more than 700,000 dollars (425,000) to repair.
It has been described as the biggest military computer hack of all time.
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