The fate of Pentagon Hacker Gary McKinnon will be decided by a UK judge on the same day that Barak Obama is inaugurated as president of the United States.
The UK's High Court has set 20 January as the day when it decides whether to grant McKinnon a judicial review, his last legal recourse against extradition to the US where he will face hacking charges and a possible 60 years in prison.
McKinnon's supporters see the coincidence of his hearing with Obama's inauguration as a good omen. They think his hacking charges were trumped up by a Bush administration hell-bent on vindictive justice. They think that under Obama, justice will shine a favourable light on Gary's case.
"Is it just a coincidence, or are the officials who set the court dates waving a couple of fingers at President George W Bush and his... henchmen, who officially hand over power to President-elect Barak Obama on the same day, Tuesday 20th January 2009?," reads the website for Gary's campaigners.
Obama's arrival is being anticipated like King Arthur's awakening from his sleep at Avalon. But it won't do Gary any favours if his application for a judicial review is thrown out on the same day that the world's media is celebrating the Coming of the King.
With his legal recourse running thin, his popular support will be all his campaign has to fall back on. The opportunity Gary has on 20 January is elaborate: The High Court has agreed to allow Edward Fitzgerald QC, a renowned human rights lawyer, to make an oral application for a legal review of the decision taken by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith not to reconsider Gary's extradition order after his diagnosis in the summer with Asperger's Syndrome, a psychological condition that will make it hard for him to bear the pressures of incarceration.
Fitzgerald had already made a written application for a judicial review on 17 October. It was refused. The oral application is not likely to differ in substance, but is allowed on the basis that an oral representation to a judge can be more persuasive.
If his application fails, Gary will have no other way to secure a trial for his hacking charges in the UK bar his popular campaign. It is fitting then that Gary has re-launched his popular music video after Myspace removed it last month.
You can see it here. µ
McKinnon's fate decided on Obama day
By Mark Ballard on Dec 2, 2008 9:51AM