David Cameron has moved to prevent Asperger’s computer hacker Gary McKinnon from facing extradition to the US and instead serve his time in a British prison if he’s convicted.
The UK Prime Minister proposed this during talks with Barack Obama at the White House. He told BBC Radio 5 Live that the Government had discussed the issues with the President and proposed “some of the (sentence), if there is a prison sentence, being served in a British prison.”
“That is one potential outcome and I’ll be working very hard to make sure that these things are discussed between the two governments. If we can reach a settlement then all to the good. I don’t want to make a prediction because there are many difficult issues that have to be worked through,” he told the radio station.
Gary McKinnon faces up to 60 years in jail and extradition to the US after he was accused of hacking into the White House computers over 2001-2002. However, he maintains he only did this to search for evidence of UFOs.
And there’s been loads of twists and turns since then. Despite campaigners and McKinnon’s lawyers pushing for a lesser sentence and a UK prison stint under the Human Rights Act, last year Alan Johnson, the former home secretary and Theresa May’s predecessor, ruled that McKinnon could face extradition and trial in the US.
In May this year the case had to be adjourned before it even started as there were concerns that McKinnon was unfit to stand trial in the US.
Speaking at a White House press conference alongside President Obama, Mr Cameron said: “Clearly there is a discussion going on between the British and the Americans about this but I don’t want to prejudice those discussions.
“We completely understand that Gary McKinnon stands accused of a very important and significant crime in terms of hacking into vital databases and nobody denies that is an important crime that has to be considered.
“I have had conversations with the US ambassador as well as raising it today with the president about this issue, and I hope a way through can be found.”
Obama said a solution should be found within the law, but in the context of the “co-operative relationship” between the US and the UK.
“I trust that this will get resolved in a way that underscores the seriousness of the issue, but also underscores the fact that we work together. We can find an appropriate solution,” Obama said.