David Burrowes, Conservative MP for Enfield Southgate, is a good
friend from university days and he has been a tireless champion of his
constituent, the computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who has Asperger's
syndrome. The Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, has today decided
that McKinnon's extradition to the US should go ahead. The US
authorities want to try Mr McKinnon for hacking into military computer
systems, apparently in search of information on UFOs. David Burrowes
issued this statement in response:
"It is extremely disappointing that the repeated calls for compassion and justice for Gary have been ignored by the Home Secretary. Despite substantial medical grounds giving Alan Johnson the opportunity to stop the extradition he has washed his hands of Gary. I will continue to challenge the decision in Parliament and Gary's lawyers will be seeking a judicial review of a seemingly unreasonable and unfair decision".
From previous discussions of this topic I know that most ConHome readers are on the side of David Burrowes and Mr McKinnon. Although I respect David's compassion and seriousness of purpose I point you to an excellent post by Labour MP Tom Harris on the subject today. As Tom writes: "[Computer hacking] causes millions of pounds of damage every year. People who hack into other people’s computers should be charged and tried. If convicted, the sentences should be severe."
And to the idea that "Asperger’s sufferers shouldn’t be extradited", Tom continues: "Would this argument be made in favour of an Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer who had committed a less “acceptable” crime, like murder or child abuse?"
We do need more balanced extradition arrangements between Britain and America but we should also extradite Mr McKinnon for the alleged crimes he has committed.