After a 10-year-long fight against extradition to the United States, the Scottish man who hacked into U.S. military networks in 2001 and 2002 will be spared.
London blocked the extradition on human rights grounds and on the belief that Gary McKinnon, 46, diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, does not have the mental wherewithal to journey to America or stand trial here.
"Mr. McKinnon is accused of serious crimes. But there is also no doubt that he is seriously ill," British Home Secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons in London today (Oct. 16). "After careful consideration of all of the relevant material, I have concluded that Mr. McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr. McKinnon's human rights. I have therefore withdrawn the extradition order."
McKinnon, who has never set foot in the U.S., may still face charges at home.
McKinnon confessed to accessing files he wasn't authorized to, but said he was merely hunting for evidence of UFOs and other extraterrestrial technology. An indictment, however, accuses McKinnon of deleting files and causing $800,000 in damages.
Britain is embattled in another high-profile extradition case involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Sweden has requested his extradition to face sex-crime charges, but Assange and many of his supporters believe it is a ploy to bring Assange to the U.S. in order to prosecute him for publishing a series of diplomatic cables.
Political hacking collective Anonymous has shown its support for both men by attacking government websites on their behalf.
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