UK blocks hacker's extradition to United States

UK blocks hacker's extradition to United States

A British computer hacker accused by the United States of causing more than $700,000 damage to US military systems will not be extradited because of the high risk he could kill himself, Britain’s home secretary Theresa May said on Tuesday.

Gary McKinnon, who has been fighting extradition for seven years, faced up to 60 years in a US jail if found guilty of what one US prosecutor called the “biggest military computer hack of all time”.

McKinnon, 46, admits hacking into Pentagon and NASA computers under the pseudonym “Solo” but said he was looking for evidence of UFOs.

The former computer systems administrator has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, and is suffering from depressive illness. He has been fighting extradition since British police arrested him in 2005.

“I have concluded that 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 McKinnon’s human rights,” May told parliament.

“I have therefore withdrawn the extradition order against McKinnon.”

His case was one of the most high-profile extradition decisions ever faced by the British government.