submitted by: Claire Simmons
8th December 2009
The protest is to take place:
at The Home Office
2 Marsham Street SW1
Tuesday 15th December, from 12-2pm.
People who are unable to attend are asked to show their support by sending flowers to the Queen, and/or letters of support for Gary McKinnon, or place flowers at the gates of the palace whenever they are able.
We are protesting against the imminent extradition of the Asperger’s UFO-geek computer hacker, Gary McKinnon to the USA, where he will face up to 60 years imprisonment for a crime which, if tried in this country, would most likely not warrant a custodial sentence at all.
The Home Secretary, Alan Johnson is now trying to rush the extradition through before Christmas, despite the fact that it is grossly disproportionate to the crime, that the crime itself was committed in the UK, that no evidence has been provided for the crime he is being extradited for (causing damage), and that Gary’s actions are mitigated somewhat by the fact that he has Asperger’s Syndrome.
The eight year pursuit of Gary McKinnon by the US has taken a considerable toll on Gary’s mental health, and he is now suicidal, if not sectionable.
Despite all this, Alan Johnson decided on 27th Nov, against the recommendations of a Commons Select Committee hearing, not to halt the extradition. Mr Johnson claims that he does not have discretion to intervene. However, it is widely considered, by all accounts bar his own – including by Shami Chakrabati of Liberty, by Mr Johnson’s own legal adviser, and by a number of barristers from Cherie Blair’s Matrix chambers – that as Home Secretary he does indeed have discretion to halt the extradition.
Alan Johnson has declined to halt the extradition on Human Rights grounds, the only grounds he claims he could intervene on, and has given Mr McKinnon’s solicitors only 14 days to seek Judicial Review of his decision, instead of the customary three months. This was his decision after reviewing the medical evidence regarding Gary’s deteriorating mental health, and the impact of his Asperger’s on the suffering that extradition would cause him.
This case is a matter of considerable public interest, because it relates to the extradition treaty between the US and UK, which David Blunkett bafflingly signed in 2003. Though Alan Johnson disingenuously denies it, the treaty is grossly one-sided in favour of the US. Under its terms, any UK citizen may be extradited to the US without a shred of evidence being provided against them. The UK do not have the same privilege over US citizens.
This treaty and the McKinnon extradition are denounced by both Liberty, and by the American Civil Liberties Union. To date, the Prime Minister remains suspiciously silent on the matter.
Press stories on the case:
Failing McKinnon and failing us too
Profile: Gary McKinnon
30th July 2008
Gary McKinnon: Scapegoat or public enemy?
13th July 2005