McKinnon a step closer to U.S. extradition

Gary McKinnon appeared in Bow Street Magistrate's Court today to hear District Judge Evans's decision allowing his extradition to the U.S. where he will face trial for hacking into and causing damage to U.S. military computer systems.

The judge said he was convinced that the extradition would not interfere with McKinnon's rights and after reassurances from the U.S. attorney, he is sure McKinnon will not be tried under strict anti-terrorist laws which could place him in prison at Guatanomo Bay.

Newly appointed Home Secretary, John Reid, will now decide the case while taking into account Judge Evans's statement. If Reid agrees with the recommendation, McKinnon has sworn he will appeal to the High Court.

Often called 'the world's biggest hacker', McKinnon has openly stated his fear of being tried in a U.S. court and facing up to 70 years in jail. "I will probably come under military order number one," he has said, a point his team reiterated today. "This means no rights of appeal and no press." He is not yet convinced by the written reassurances given by the U.S. government that he will not be detained indefinitely without trial.

McKinnon was originally arrested in 2002. He is now charged with hacking into nearly 100 military and NASA computers and causing up to £370,000 - or $700,000 - worth of damage and could be extradited under a new law that allows the U.S. the unreciprocated power to try a suspect in a U.S. court without first having to provide prima facie evidence.

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