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NASA Hacker Close To End Of Extradition Appeals

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Friday saw so-called NASA hacker Gary McKinnon lose another in his bid to avoid extradition to the US to stand trial.

McKinnon, from North London, was first indicted by the US Department of Justice in November 2002, charged with damaging a federal computer system, and breaking into a total of 97 computers belonging to the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, US Department of Defense and NASA. It’s alleged he did $700,000 worth of damage to computer systems.

McKinnon has never denied breaking into the computers, although he’s always claimed he was looking for evidence of UFOs. He also pointed out how weak the security systems on the computers had been, especially in the wake of 9/11.

On Friday McKinnon lost another round in his bid to avoid extradition to the US where he would stand trial and potentially face 70 years in jail if convicted. McKinnon, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, wishes to be tried in the UK. A number of Members of Parliament support him.

Friday’s rejection of his appeal means he has 28 days in which to launch another appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice, and his solicitor, Karen Todner, also plans an appeal to the new Supreme Court, as well as an appeal to President Obama. Todner said:

"I have today sent a letter to President Barack Obama signed by 40 members of a cross-parliamentary group of MPs asking him to step in to bring this shameful episode to an end. It is a sad state of affairs if this government cannot protect our most vulnerable of citizens."

Speaking for the British government, Harriet Harman said:

"There certainly have been assurances sought and given that if, and when, the extradition takes place… his health needs will be attended to."

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