Gary McKinnon extradition case postponed

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As expected, the case against hacker Gary McKinnon has been put on hold for a number of weeks.

As expected, the case against hacker Gary McKinnon has been put on hold for a number of weeks.

McKinnon's lawyer, Karen Todner, revealed today that the High Court has postponed extradition plans while Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, considers the case.

McKinnon is seeking a ruling that he can be tried under the UK's Computer Misuse Act, and wants his Asperger's diagnosis to be taken into consideration.

Now 42, McKinnon has never travelled out of the UK. Although he is charged with hacking into NASA computers, he did so using a dial-up connection, and was, he says, only looking for signs of extraterrestrial life. He denies causing the amount of damage he is accused of, but accepts other charges.

Despite this, the UK High Court is currently supporting US calls for his extradition. Should McKinnon be extradited, he is expected to serve a lengthy time in a high security facility. It is this that his family, friends and supporters are seeking to prevent.

Statements from the Home Office have so far suggested that the extradition is a certainty, but they do acknowledge that this could change.

"The UK takes its international obligations seriously. The US request has withstood all of the challenges mounted before it. Whilst the case remains before the courts we do not intend to comment further," the department said yesterday.

McKinnon said outside court today: "It's been a good day overall. For a change it's slightly good news. A little ray of hope."
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