Better late than never

by Stephen Tall on October 26, 2009

Some positive news today in the fight for justice for Gary McKinnon, the Asperger’s sufferer and alleged computer hacker who is facing extradition to the USA, a fate which it is believed could jeopardise his health:

The Home Secretary confirmed today that he had “stopped the clock” on proceedings to extradite the British alleged hacker Gary McKinnon to the United States. Alan Johnson told MPs that he was examining new medical evidence in the case, and would allow Mr McKinnon’s lawyers more time to consider medical reports and make legal representations.

Mr McKinnon, from North London, is wanted by US prosecutors for what they have called the “biggest military computer hack of all time”. They claim that he hacked into 97 military computers and caused £487,000 of damage. The 43-year-old, who has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, says that he was looking for reports of UFO sightings.

Good on Alan Johnson,who runs the risk of losing the title held by every single Home Secretary in the last 12 years of being the ‘most authoritarian Home Secretary since the last one’. (In fact it’s hard to recall the last genuinely liberal home secretary, at least after Roy Jenkins in the mid-’70s – perhaps Douglas Hurd?)

Many politicians across the party divides have been pressing Gary Mckinnon’s case – you can read about how Nick Clegg, Simon Hughes and Alex Carlile have been doing so on behalf of the Lib Dems here.