McKinnon’s Mother Pleads Before Extradition Debate


Hacker Gary McKinnon’s mother wants MPs to renegotiate controversial US-UK extradition treaty

The mother of hacker Gary McKinnon has written an open letter to the Daily Mail ahead of a parliamentary debate regarding the renegotiation of the UK’s extradition treaty with the US.

Janis Sharp has urged MPs to vote in favour of changing the treaty with opponents calling it unbalanced and claiming that it protects those in the US more than UK citizens.

Open Letter

“Extradition was meant to bring someone back to a country they had fled from after committing a heinous crime but British pensioners, students and computer geeks with autism are being targeted by America even when never having set foot there,” said Sharp.

”Gary embarrassed the US by highlighting their cyber security as pitiful, as they had no passwords or firewalls on their computers. He could have paid for his foolishness years ago had he been prosecuted in the UK as others have,” she continued.

“In despicable online child pornography cases, America prosecutes in the location of the keyboard. Why then is that principle not appropriate for someone like Gary who was searching for information on UFOs and Free Energy?”

Unbalanced Treaty

McKinnon hacked into 97 military and NASA systems between 2001 and 2002 looking for information about aliens and UFOs. The American authorities allege that his actions caused it to shut down critical systems and networks in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and caused damage of around £430,000.

The US sought to extradite McKinnon, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, using the existing treaty, but supporters claim that he would not receive a fair trial. Critics of the treaty say that during the period between 2004 and July 2011, 123 people were extradited from the UK to the US, with only 54 going in the opposite direction.

McKinnon faces up to 60 years in prison and lost an appeal in July 2009, but then Home Secretary Alan Johnson defended the decision to extradite him.

Earlier this year, it emerged thaat a 23 year old computer student at Sheffield Hallam University could be extradited to the US for operating a website which provided links to copyrighted content. He faces charges of copyright infringement and criminal infringement of copyright, despite the server not being based in the US.


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