McKinnon refused Supreme Court appeal

By Liz Stephens

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon will not be allowed to take his appeal against extradition to the UK Supreme Court it was announced today.

The High Court has ruled that Mr McKinnon will not be allowed to appeal against his extradition to the US on charges of hacking into Pentagon and NASA computers because his case is not of “general public importance”.

Mr McKinnon, a UFO enthusiast who suffers from Aspergers Syndrome, is due to be extradited to the US for trial – the appeal was thought to be one of the last chances for his lawyers to delay the process.

Mr McKinnon lost a High Court battle to avoid being extradited back in July. He was challenging refusals by the home secretary and director of public prosecutions to try him in the UK.

If convicted in the US he could face up to 60 years in jail.

His lawyers have said they now plan to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Mr McKinnon’s supporters, who include the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties and the Daily Mail newspaper, argue that he is “vulnerable”.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “If the courts cannot prevent Gary McKinnon’s extradition then Alan Johnson must.

“A succession of ministers have let this sorry saga drag on for seven long years.

“The Government’s one-sided extradition treaty with the US and its refusal to stand up to the Americans looks like it will result in a vulnerable man being hung out to dry.”

Mr McKinnon’s lawyers have warned he presents a suicide risk if extradited because of the state of his mental health.

His mother Janis Sharp accused the UK of offering its citizens as “sacrificial lambs” to the US.

“To use my desperately vulnerable son in this way is despicable, immoral and devoid of humanity,” Ms Sharp said.

Mr McKinnon admitted hacking into 97 US computers from his North London home in 2001 and 2002. He maintains he was looking for evidence of extra-terrestrials.

The US government claims the incident was the “biggest military hack of all time” and cost $800,000 (£487,000) to remedy.