McKinnon to hear extradition verdict

Gary McKinnon is set to receive a verdict from the Home Office on his extradition to America on Tuesday afternoon, after a decade long wait.

McKinnon’s lawyer Karen Todner confirmed on Sunday via Twitter that a decision would finally be made over extraditing McKinnon to face charges for hacking into US government networks.

The mother of London resident McKinnon, Janis Sharp, has been fighting attempts to extradite her son for ten years since he was accused of breaking into military and NASA computers.

Sharp has repeatedly claimed that Asperger’s sufferer McKinnon would be at severe risk of suicide if he was subject to prison across the Atlantic.   It is thought that he could face a sentence of up to 60 years.  Sharp contends that McKinnon should indeed stand trial for his actions, but should face a judgement in the UK.

Sharp’s campaign has drawn the backing of prominent MPs in the UK, and has led to an appeal to the Prime Minister to resolve the problem directly with his US counterpart Barack Obama, she previously told TechEye.

McKinnon’s case has been at the forefront of discussion by MPs surrounding the existing extradition treaties between the UK and the US.  Many believe existing rules are one sided in favour of the US, with US residents considered highly unlikely to be extradited to the UK.

Successive Home Secretaries have had to deal with the thorny problem of McKinnon’s extradition. US authorities have been adamant he should stand trial and face imprisonment on American soil, and it now falls on Conservative Theresa May to make a final judgement over whether to acquiesce to those demands.

The Home Secretary has been under the spotlight for a number of extradition rulings in the past weeks. High profile case such as that of radical cleric Abu Hamza resulted in extradition, though another contentious case, that of Abu Qatada, recently ended with the Qatada being allowed to stay in the country.

May is also to announce verdict on demands from the US Justice Department to extradite UK citizen Richard O’Dwyer for piracy offences.

A verdict on McKinnon’s case is expected to be made at noon tomorrow.