Gary McKinnon Extradition Deadline Set

Home secretary Theresa May will make a final decision on whether NASA hacker Gary McKinnon will be extradited to the US by 16 October.

That’s according to McKinnon’s lawyer, Karen Todner, who issued a statement today confirming that a plea to have the decision brought forward had not been granted.

McKinnon has admitted to hacking US military and NASA systems in 2002 but claimed he was only looking for evidence of UFOs. He could be imprisoned for up to 60 years in jail if convicted in America.

End in sight?

Due to concerns that McKinnon suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and could be tempted to take his own life if extradited, his mother Janis Sharp and his legal team have been fighting to keep him in the UK. His battle against extradition has been going on since 2006.

Todner said the legal battle would continue if May ordered McKinnon’s extradition to go ahead.

“The Home Secretary will make an announcement on or before 16 October 2012 regarding the extradition of Gary McKinnon to the United States of America,” Todner’s statement read.

“Should the decision from the Home Secretary not be in Mr McKinnon’s favour, the High Court have fixed the case for hearing on 28 and 29 November 2012.”

London’s High Court ruled in July that a decision would have to be made by mid-October, but no specific date was given.

May had expressed concerns that McKinnon chose not to have an additional medical test.

McKinnon subsequently refused to undergo further medical tests, as his backers said the Home Office-appointed expert, Professor Thomas Fahy, did not have the right experience. They also claimed McKinnon has repeatedly been seen by independent specialists who have concluded he is a suicide risk.

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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