British hacker gets more time to fight US extradition

October 17, 2009
Briton Gary McKinnon leaves the High Court in central London, in January 2009. McKinnon, a Briton accused of hacking into US military and NASA space agency computers, was on Saturday given more time to fight his extradition to the United States, officials and lawyers said.

A Briton accused of hacking into US military and NASA space agency computers was on Saturday given more time to fight his extradition to the United States, officials and lawyers said.

Gary McKinnon, 43, whose family says has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of , could spend life in prison if convicted by a US court of gaining access to 97 computers in 2001 and 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

He says he was only looking for evidence of unidentified flying objects (UFOs).

Earlier this month, the High Court in London refused him leave to appeal to Britain's new Supreme Court against his .

But now his supporters have fresh hope after the Home Office said he had an extra 14 days to fight the move. His lawyers had submitted fresh medical evidence concerning his mental health.

"We are pleased that the home secretary is considering it and hope he will show some compassion to someone who is extremely vulnerable," McKinnon's solicitor Karen Todner said.

The Home Office confirmed: "On October 12, his solicitors submitted further representations to the home secretary and we are considering what response to give to this latest material...

"In the meantime, we have confirmed to his solicitors that we do not consider the 14 days for a Strasbourg application as running."

After MacKinnon was denied leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on October 9, he was given 14 days to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, but the Home Office has now agreed to put that period on hold.

(c) 2009 AFP

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