Lawyers for Gary McKinnon , the self-confessed hacker wanted in the US for corrupting dozens of military computer systems, have launched a last-ditch effort to prevent his extradition after losing a key court ruling on Friday.
Karen Todner, solicitor for Mr McKinnon, said she would send Alan Johnson, home secretary, fresh medical evidence next week showing that her client’s deteriorating health meant he should not be forced to stand trial in the US.
Mr McKinnon’s case has become the latest British cause célèbre in the long-running argument over extradition rules that critics say make it too easy for UK nationals – including business people accused of fraud – to be extradited to the US. Ms Todner said Mr McKinnon still had legal options – including possible action in the new Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights– though she acknowledged these were his last chances to avoid being sent to the US. “We are not going to give up. If it can be done, it will be done,” she said.
Ms Todner said she would make a fresh appeal to Mr Johnson to intervene in the case because of the “rapid decline” in the health of Mr McKinnon, whose Asperger syndrome would – his lawyers claim – leave him at risk of developing a serious psychotic disorder if he is extradited.
If Mr Johnson once again refuses to stop the process, Ms Todner will try to delay it by winning an emergency order from the European Court of Human Rights, or by intervening in a Supreme Court case next month concerning the legality of the extradition of the businessman Ian Norris.
The renewed scramble to prevent Mr McKinnon’s removal began after the High Court rebuffed his efforts to mount his own appeal to the Supreme Court. Lord Justice Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie argued that the case did not raise “points of law of general public importance”.
The 43-year-old has admitted to pulling off what US authorities call “the biggest military hack of all time” from his London home, causing computers within the Pentagon and Nasa to shut down for 24 hours.
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