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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gary McKinnon Hopes Dashed as President Obama refuses to halt extradition - 26th May 2011

Gary McKinnon’s hopes of avoiding extradition to the U.S. suffered a severe setback yesterday when Barack Obama declined to allow him to be tried in Britain.

Campaigners had hoped the President would halt the legal proceedings because of the Asperger’s sufferer’s precarious mental state.

But Mr Obama – despite previously saying he wanted to find an ‘appropriate solution’ to end the computer hacker’s ordeal – effectively endorsed the extradition process.

He said: ‘We have confidence in the British legal system coming to a just conclusion, and so we will await resolution and we will be respectful of that process.’

Over the past decade, the British courts have repeatedly refused to block 45-year-old Mr McKinnon’s extradition, despite doctors saying he will kill himself if bundled on to a plane to the U.S.

Judges have themselves agreed he is a suicide risk but – under the controversial Extradition Act, which is biased in favour of the U.S. – this is considered insufficient reason to halt proceedings.

David Cameron raised his plight in face-to-face talks with Mr Obama yesterday morning. The two leaders were then questioned during a joint press conference at which the extradition was one of only a handful of subjects raised, alongside Libya and the Middle East.

Campaigners say this shows the huge importance of the case, which has been the subject of the Daily Mail’s Affront to British Justice campaign.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: ‘If, as the President says, he will be “respectful” of our legal process, then he should be happy for Gary to be dealt with here in the UK. Read More