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back to article McKinnon supporters plan Home Office demo

Friends and family of accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon are planning a protest outside the Home Office at 4pm on Tuesday (2 September). Last week the European Court of Human Rights declined to intervene in preventing McKinnon's extradition to the US on hacking offences. Following the earlier rejection of appeals in the …

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Why?

Lets hope they fail.....!

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Justice

He did the crime, now he must do the time. Simple.

Just because I leave my front door unlocked is not an excuse to some in and rifle through my undergarments. Same thing here.

He broke the law, he seemed to know he was breaking the law, he has no defence. Luckily he is getting extradited to the USA which actually seems to give a damn about white-collar crime (e.g. NatWest 3), unlike the UK where you'd probably get a peerage.

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@why & @justice

your tolerance and understanding sicken me.

Is there anyone else you'd like to have strung up for a misdemeanour? He committed this crime on UK soil and should be tried here - where he would likely and I think rightly be given a 2 year suspended sentence or similar.

By allowing him to be extradited to the U.S he is likely to spend at least 20 years if not more locked away.

If anything he did them a favour by highlighting the completely shitty security of the US military systems. Default passwords and the like.

Sleep well you wankers! I'll let you get back to your Daily Mail now.

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Error

Your article has a very common mistake of referring to "US Marshals Service" as "US Marshall service".

Pedantically yours,

Sig goes here

PS It's all good to say pay for the crime, but what if it's hugely disproportionate to the crime committed?

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Anonymous Coward

Fairness

The issue isn't about whether he did the crime or not, it's about whether he will get a fair trial, and from remarks made from American officials and the seemingly wild claims made by the prosecutors there's a strong indication he may not.

If I was him, I'd rather be tried in our British courts - what he did is a crime here and he can be prosecuted here.

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Justice

He might have done the crime, he needs to stand trial. Simple.

If he'd done the crime against servers in the UK, he'd still be arrested and tried.

As much as I like to get annoyed with Merkins, their legal system still requires a high standard of evidence for a conviction and he will get a fair trial with access to make a full and complete defense.

As for one sided extradition treaties, yep, let's sort that out. But let's not try to sort it out by withholding people from trial.

"He was just curious", yet it's still illegal.

"He's got aspergers", yet he still knows right from wrong.

"But the sentence is really really harsh", he could of course not have, allegedly, committed the crime. It would have saved all this hassle.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

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Hmmmm.........

I think he openly admits he broke the law, the argument is in the dodgy way America has tried to extradite him, the possible length of the jail term, the outrageous claims of damages to damaged systems, and the fact America has no standing in the world anymore when it comes to the humane treatment of prisoners.

Im surprised they didnt just grab him off the street like they have done to so many others.

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He's a scapegoat

for some appallingly bad security.

It's easier to prosecute the guy who climbs through the fence than actually wonder what idiot left the hole there in the first place and didn't fix it.

The sooner this one-sided extraditrion agreement is ripped up the better. I don't see the US rushing to hand over any of its citizens, even when it's just to give evidence at an inquest into why they keep shooting our soldiers.

Special relationship = bend over and spread cheeks.

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I think that this is about principle

I have to agree with the protesters in this case. Yes he should not have done what he allegedly did and should be tried in the UK. What is worrying me with all these extradition cases is that the US is becoming increasingly aggressive/paranoid/just plain bad in the way that it deals with other countries. I Bet if this was the other way round it wouldn't happen. This alleged crime was committed from within the UK and should be tried here. If I murder a US citizen on holiday in Brighton, I expect to get tried in the UK not Dallas or somewhere.

Time we stood up for our own citizens and against American bullying. bet the poor sucker ends up in leg irons/manacles and christ knows what else whilst these little dick marshalls get off on one hauling him onto the plane. Bet they have those big droopy tasches and shotguns, probably spurrs and big hats also?

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@Peter

"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime"

Sure, but in your opinion then what might be the appropriate penalty for someone who's curious and snoops round open computer systems?

People who do that clearly are a nuisance and committing an offence of some sort, but unless one sets out to commit malicious damage or fraud for financial gain, isn't it a relatively minor misdemeanour, rather more comparable to rifling through a celebrity's dustbin or reading an ex-girlfriend's email, say, than planning the next 9/11 atrocity? Would you extradite people for those offences too, just to make an example of them?

-Rolf

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Bloody disgusting

Why should he go to the US to be tried, If british person went to new york and was murdered those american idiots would not send the murderer over here to be tried.

as someone said our special relationship with USA (Bend over and Spread Cheeks)

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Anonymous Coward

Scape goat, plain an simple.

The US want to set a precedent with their "special friend", Gordon. I'm afraid Gary will get a show trial and then a nice comfy cell in a low security prison in the States for 15 years. He's this decade's Kevin Mitnick, they just want someone they can make an example of. Protesting will achieve nothing, 'cos the US have already started painting the walls of Gary's new home for the next decade or two, I'm afraid.

With all due respect though, if you poking about where you know damn well you shouldn't be, at a time when people with itchy trigger fingers may be lurking, it's hardly surprising that if and when you get caught, they are not very accommodating.

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Pirate

Game Over

Time to admit, he's on his way to the US of A and theres nothing anyone can do about it.... Game Over sonnyjim!

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@ Anonymous Cowards

AC (1)

"He committed this crime on UK soil and should be tried here."

Why? The Internet means that the criminal and victim don't have to be in the same country. Why shouldn't the victim's country try him?

AC (2)

"It's easier to prosecute the guy who climbs through the fence"

It's not compulsory to climb through a hole in a fence.

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Isn't there a law

Isn't there a law which prohibits the transfer of detainees to nations which carry out torture?

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@Rolf

What do you consider the appropriate punishment for someone who walks through your open door and rifles through your smalls? Same as any other burglar would be my bet.

I am not defending the idiocy of the US military, but McKinnion committed a crime on USA soil, there is a fully ratified bi-lateral treaty with the USA to allow deportation so he should get deportation.

@Michael

Of course not, and if you bothered to think for a second you would know why. If a Yank flew over here and murdered someone, we would prosecute. Or if a Brit murdered a Yank here, we would still prosecute. In your example though, the crime was committed on USA soil - who the heck do you think will prosecute?

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Joke

OK, then tell me why

Mckinnon's extradition gets waived through by parliament, yet hate preacher Hamza Hook Hand gets every last concieveable delay in the universe? and I bet Mckinnon hasnt got several family members here at the taxpayers expense too!

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Unhappy

Asperger's is *NOT* mild!

Will people *please* stop referring to Asperger's Syndrome as "a mild form of autism". Whilst it is less severe than classical, or "Kanner's Syndrome" autism, it is not a "mild" condition. For many people who have it, it is seriously disabling. The myth that it is "mild" results in serious discrimination against people with this condition.

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Big Case

This is a huge case, and I'm rather dismayed that the media didn't cover it from all the most significant angles, instead choosing to focus on the alleged crime itself.

1. If the pepetrator and victim of a crime are not within the same jurisdiction, under which should they be prosecuted? To use an analogy, if I stand in the US and shoot someone over the Mexican border, have I committed a crime under US law, or Mexican? Or both? This is such a complicated issue, especially since as I understand it there are human rights laws dictating one cannot be tried twice for the same crime. I can only assume that since McKinnon's actions were not illegal under UK law, official policy is that "we have to have him tried for something, so let's hand him to somebody that can".

2. Can the US legal system be trusted to obtain a fair result? When our own government-sanctioned report finds that we cannot (due to torture risk), it seems amazing that we're willing to just hand him over.

3. More generally, how can we morally honour a one-sided extradition treaty, and why do we need to?

Yes, in an ideal world McKinnon should face the consequences of his actions. But there are many things which one could argue "should be illegal" but aren't, and I'd much rather see (alleged) US murderers brought to justice than a fruit loop who (allegedly) guessed some passwords. In fact, it is such a shame that despite this case presenting an ideal platform for challenging the US with our concerns over their legal system and the extradition treaty (i.e. refuse extradition for a crime that didn't really hurt anyone rather than a more morally objective one), our government chooses to pass up the opportunity.

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Justice?

I'm afraid I have to come down against the extradition. It isn't about whether he's innocent or not, its about whether we believe the US justice system to be acceptable.

The standard procedure of having ludicrously inappropriate sentences so those accused will plead guilty because the small chance of conviction carries a huge penalty is no way to be seen to administer justice, regardless of guilt.

The treatment of foreigners accused (or not even accused, Gitmo), let alone convicted of crimes by America also leaves a lot to be desired.

If he committed a crime while in the UK and its a crime under UK law, there really is no reason to extradite. The US should be free to provide evidence under the UK legal system. The implication that UK justice isn't good enough is insulting and should be taken as an affront. If you leave the Mona Lisa on your front porch floor, its kinda your fault, even if its a burglar who steps on it.

The opportunity to bring pressure on the US government to ratify the extradition treaty (bad though it is) so that there is equality in the system should not be passed up.

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OK, here's the deal George

we hand over the hacker, you hand over them murderous IRA fund raisers and terrorists?

what do you mean, protected American citizens?

cuts both ways, Maggie would have said "bugger off bush"

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@Anonymous Coward

"What do you consider the appropriate punishment for someone who walks through your open door and rifles through your smalls? Same as any other burglar would be my bet."

Well, two problems:

1) he didn't rifle through your smalls

2) he didn't rifle through your smalls

I know that's only one problem, but it seemed so important I needed to say it twice.

Now, what IS the punishment for that? Community sentence. It definitely isn't worth extradition without evidence.

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@Anonymous John

Then the BBC, Fox News and many other sites are guilty in Chinese law of sedition and treason.

FFS.

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AC - George

Too right, Americans never turned over all the murdering scum bags that were profiteering for the IRA, because they were US citizens...

Then again this government nailed it's colours to America's coat tails years ago when oily blair decided he likes man loving... and Jackie "brownshirt" smith will not in anyway side with a Brit when the US click their fingers, ask her about CCTV cameras and permissions to do it.

Nor anyone who might have to be jailed here at the cost to this country as our prisons are full... nor one that actually might be handled wrongly over there... or if any form of human rights are mentioned as they don't exist in her limited volcabulary.

No point brandishing banners outside the home office in protest either, you will just get arrested...

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Anonymous Coward

We should make it a crime for the US to call for extradition

And then call for the extradition of the person in the USA calling for the extradition.

It you cannot do the time don't do the crime :)

The UK does need to grow a pair, we don't need to be pushed around by the yanks, we are not their poodle.

And yes come on let's have justice for all the British people killed by American sponsorhip of the IRA.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: We should make it a crime for the US to call for extradition

If *one more* person says 'if you can't do the time, don't do the crime' I swear I will extradite them so fast they won't know what the hell.

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@AC

"What do you consider the appropriate punishment for someone who walks through your open door and rifles through your smalls? Same as any other burglar would be my bet."

Well, first, someone physically intruding your property is much more invasive than the kind of thing I was talking about (worries like what if I'd been home, what if he'd had a knife, etc.). And secondly, the punishment for a first offence is likely to be considerably less than 10 to 20 years in jail, and quite rightly so. It's all a matter of proportionality.

"I am not defending the idiocy of the US military, but McKinnion committed a crime on USA soil..."

That's the point, he didn't commit a crime on USA soil. He was on British soil, and he committed an offence over here, and could quite easily have been prosecuted over here.

In a global society and in a world with the Internet, we have to be EXTREMELY careful with issues of territoriality and jurisdiction and shouldn't give in to other countries' demands without very careful consideration. For example, let's say you browsed a pro-Tibet web site, which is a serious offence in China, would you expect to be extradited to China??

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Happy

I'd like to see him sue the US Military...

Remember that is the country where burglars can successfully sue you if the fall down the stairs while stealing your valuables...

Surely there must be similar grounds when files are left on unprotected servers just waiting for you to trip over them?

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@Sarah Bee

Yeah, like

a) Don't hide priests from persecution

b) Don't kill the King

c) Don't revolt against your government

d) Don't stand in a white only section of a bus

e) Don't chain yourself to a railing outside parliament

they were all criminal acts.

But we made our world with them.

Not that this is in anything like the same league, but it shows how ASSININE "if you can't do the time" meme is.

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@Location of the crime

The crime was committed in the UK. If you set up a pirate radio station in the UK and broadcast adverts for illegal drugs then that is a crime in the UK. The fact that your broadcast reached Belgium doesn't mean you're also committing a crime in Belgium.

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@Sarah Bee

Seconded! Almost as annoying as "nothing to hide, nothing to fear", an offence that should also be handled by immediate extradition!

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Crime & Time

McKinnon broke the law and knew what he as doing was against the law, irrespective of where the servers were situated or who they belong to. Hacking is against the law!

So, I ask what makes Gary McKinnon so special that he shouldn't be extradited?

I believe his defence team are now claiming that he has some form of Autism and he suddenly needs "medical attention"

Man, you can't make this shit up, it's like a semi intelligent episode of East Enders where some dorkwit blatantly breaks the law, gets caught, has to be held accountable for what he's done but he and his supporters are in denial. Then when he has to face the music he believes he's the victim and then comes up with a medical reason! Unreal...

Gary McKinnon, you broke the law and upset someone bigger than you me and probably the entire UK population., You are the victim.. of your own stupid actions..

Go to jail....

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@ Math Campbell

When the Scots get independence, can you PLEASE take back all your scottish MPs currently sitting in what will be the English parliament? ;-)

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Paris Hilton

RE: Fair Trial

> 1) He won't get a fair trial. No chance. In a country where "plea-bargaining" is not only legal but even encouraged

Erm, you do know that the same happens in England right? In fact, the sooner you plea the more lenient sentence you get...

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@Raymond WIlson

"McKinnon broke the law and knew what he as doing was against the law, irrespective of where the servers were situated or who they belong to. Hacking is against the law!"

I think you are missing the point - the point is, whose law has he broken? The UK law, in which case he should be tried here, or a US law, in which case his extradition to be tried in a country he has not set foot in sets a dangerous precedent. Read the comments from others who point out the same reasoning could be used to extradite someone from the UK for instance to China to face charges of looking at a website from the UK that it is illegal to view in China.

As for his defence team, if I was being threatened with extradition to a foreign country to face charges for commiting an offence under their law without ever going there, and my government was complicit in using anti-terrorism laws to allow this to happen when it is quite clearly not a terrorist act, I would want my defence to look at every avenue to prevent this.

As decent people we must protect those not able to help themselves, and if Mr McKinnon asserts that he has an illness the claim should be tested. If it proves to be false, then dismiss the defence. In the meantime he should be given the benefit of the doubt - something that seems to have vanished from our system lately. Innocent until PROVEN guilty.

I find it very worrying that NuLab has brought in all these vague laws, and coupled with the number of people who think that if someone is accused then they have quite clearly broken the law (any law will do) and deserve to be jailed for 20 years regardless of the severity of the offence, or lack of evidence proving it, I find it alarming.

Raymond, I sincerely hope you never find yourself accused of one of the new thought crimes you didn't think or know you had committed, or held for 42 days without trial and dealing with the knee-jerk reaction of the uneducated masses baying for your incarceration.

Paris, because she knows a point when she sees one.

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@Raymond Wilson

For which, the UK prosecution decided wasn't worth persuing.

The US wanted to make an example of him so that only PROPER terrorists will want to enter "password" into the password entry form for root access, not harmless people that they can't put up as *exactly* why they need the death penalty for hacking computers.

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@ @Anonymous John

"By Mark

Then the BBC, Fox News and many other sites are guilty in Chinese law of sedition and treason."

Not the same thing. Chinese law may regard what the BBC News do as sedition, but UK law doesn't. And I doubt that China has asked for any journos to be arrested.

Suppose that a 419 scammer having defrauded UK citizens, came to the UK and was arrested. We wouldn't send him back to Nigeria for trial just because he worked the scam for there.

If you can't do the..... Sorry Sarah.. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

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@ Raymond Wilson

McKinnon broke the law?

When was the trial?

I do think he should face extradition though because he committed a crime in the US - the argument that because he was physically at the UK end of an internet connection means he didn't commit a crime in the US is laughable. We might as well put up a sign saying spammers and 419ers welcome - just don't shit in our nest.

As for disproportionate sentencing - just because white collar crime is treated as a joke in the UK doesn't mean that is right. White collar crime is potentially more devastating than crimes of violence or robbery because of the potential impact on a vast number of people and the corruption that it encourages when it is treated with a slap on the wrist.

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Another example

Here's another example. Supposing someone burgles the house of a Saudi prince in Kensington. Should he then be extradited to Saudi Arabia, to face Sharia punishment there, or be prosecuted here as a common burglar?

@Raymond Wilson and others, please get it in your heads that no-one is saying McKinnon didn't break the law and shouldn't be punished! The question is, why should a British citizen, who commits a crime against British law while on British soil, be extradited abroad rather than be tried in a British court?!

(And be careful what you wish for, lest you inadvertently find yourself in a similar situation at some point. Ever downloaded copyrighted material from a server abroad, or forwarded a humorous email that might be offensive or illegal in other countries? Trivial examples, I know, and unlikely to lead to extradition request in practice, but it's the principle that matters.)

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Gary's admitted he hacked NASA

Gary's on record as admitting that he was the person who hacked into the US Government networks. So he broke the law in the US.

In response to Raymond's point above - its important to remember that the extradition treaty is one way - i.e. the US won't extradite a US citizen to face trial for a crime they might have committed in the UK. That seems unfair to me. .Perhaps the UK Government could withold Gary and use him as a political pawn. If the US want their man, they must sign the reciprocal extradition treaty.

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Anonymous Coward

To all the "Cant do the time dont do the time" posters

What a lot of you are forgetting is which crime he is actually being accused of. In order to extradite someone from the UK one of the conditions to be met is that the accused (as that is what he is) must have caused xxx pounds worth of physical damage. In their extradition request the amount of damage claimed is = to the exact amount required for extradition to occurr. This is the only claim on which the extradition can take place. Simply claiming "he haxxored us" isn't enough. The US are (fraudulently) making up a figure which just happens to be that required by UK law to cause automatic extradition under current UK > US extradition law. If the extradition request did not contain that request then simply there would be no extradition.

What the US are saying in their claim is that "Gary opened the door that wasn't locked, it's going to cost us xxx pounds to fit locks. If he didn't open them we wouldn't need locks therefore he broke our locks".

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Blah!

So, because you don't commit a crime on UK soil you shouldn't be held accountable? Bollocks!

Rest assured if any of the pro-McKinnon crowd's children were groomed and subject to visual abuse over the Internet by some paedo in a 3rd world state with no law against it, they'd be screaming for the British government to arrange extradition to get the sicko over here so they could have their pound of flesh.

The Internet is a Global Village and just because you commit a crime in a "foreign" nation over the wire doesn't exempt you from prosecution

Flame me as much as you want, but McKinnon must face the music. He's a big boy and he knew exactly what he was doing. He wasn't playing "The X-Files Game" looking for UFO dizzle and even if he was, there are places you don't play that game, a Government Defence Network is most certainly one of them.

Gary McKinnon I have no sympathy for you, irrespective of your nationality and where you committed your crimes.

You've made a nice big crucifix for yourself and a matching crown of thorns. Wear that crown and carry the cross to the top of the hill, you've most certainly earned it!

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@Raymond Wilson

What a warm compassionate human being you are.

The coat is for you.

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Guilty man gets sent to trial ! Oh the humanity !

The crime was committed on US soil. The attacked servers were in America.

I am British, not a Daily Mail reader or a conservative.

Hacking is illegal for good reason, he has admitted to doing it, The words of the treaty state that a suspect is deported for trial if CHARGED with the offense.

The reason the Americans have yet to ratify their end of the treaty is because it is technically against the constitution.

We can argue all day but he did it, so why defend him. People don't just get deported they get several chances to appeal and he has lost them all, why ?

BECAUSE HE HAS NO DEFENSE.

And bear in mind he has been wasting legal aid on all his defence action over the last several years.

Who cares if goes to jail for 20 years, that is the penalty in America and he knew it.

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Nigerians and paedophiles

The examples some are giving of situations in which we would clearly prosecute under UK law are, in fact, classic examples of why McKinnon should *not* be extradited.

If a 419-er scams a UK citizen from the comfort of Nigeria he ISN'T extradited to Britain, instead he would be prosecuted under Nigerian law (under section 419 of the penal code, I would guess). The only exception to this is if he had actually committed a crime whilst in this country (e.g. he flew over and attempted to collect money by fraudulent means).

Similarly, paedophiles operating from foreign countries cannot be prosecuted under our laws, which is why we go after the crime that is actually committed here - the grooming, taking of the photos etc. Unfortunately if the foreign country believes it is OK to look at photos of UK children under the UK age of consent, they're free to pass laws that allow it. Yes, many believe the system is broken, but it is this way for a very important reason:

The example others have cited is a great analogy: if I post an anti-state comment on a message board on a Chinese website, that is illegal in China but not in the UK. Likewise, what McKinnon is accused of doing was illegal in the US but not in the UK (at the time, and no sane person would suggest we apply criminal law retrospectively). Ought I be extradited for my crime? It depends who you ask whether what I did was illegal, and in this country we have decided that posting anti-state comments is perfectly legal, just as we have our own opinion on the legality of rummaging around servers. The only difference between what I and McKinnon (allegedly) did is that you happen to believe he was wrong. But UK law disagrees with you. So if I or McKinnon are extradited, we are doing nothing less than accepting that Chinese/US law supercedes our own. This is not hysterical hippie posturing, this is a very real and very dangerous precedent.

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Crappy NuLab kowtow to Bush

The *anks have not signed the extradition treaty so how come the treaty is being enforced. I would have thought that both parties needed to sign a treaty for it to become valid. But then this crappy gov will let any thing pass if it keeps Bush & the rest of his robber barons happy.

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Stupid people like assonance

Reminds me of a primary school playground.

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Anonymous Coward

@David Simpson

"We can argue all day but he did it, so why defend him. People don't just get deported they get several chances to appeal and he has lost them all, why ?

BECAUSE HE HAS NO DEFENSE."

No, the reason he is being deported as has been pointed out by several judges so far is not because of the evidence against him, simply that according to UK law the US only has to accuse a UK citizen of causing damage in the US to a certain value. The US is under no obligation to provide any evidence, simply the accusation is enough. Once out of UK juristiction no doubt the US will throw a string of additional charges at Gary, but right now the only thing that he is being accused of in UK court's is causing damage to a certain value, which anyone with half a brain could see is a fabricated value. It doesn't cost you to fit locks to doors BECAUSE someone pointed out you don't have any.

If US prosecutors lied in UK court saying "McKinnon caused X value of damage" and it turns out he didn't that was just an excuse to get him out of the country, would you support the UK extraditing US prosecutors for perjury? After all if they can't do the time.....

Simply put the only crime which he has been accused of so far, is that he caused a high value of damage in the US (a figure which I've forgotten) which is completely ludicrous.

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Stop

Get your facts straight.

"The crime was committed on US soil"

Rubbish.

This notion of telepresence in law is a nonsense. The crimes were committed on UK soil, by a UK citizen. He should be tried (and if required, jailed) in the UK.

as for "there is a fully ratified bi-lateral treaty with the USA to allow deportation so he should get deportation"...

What planet are you living on? the US Senate refused to endorse that so called 'bi-lateral' extradition treaty. if the situation was reversed and it was our government demanding a US Citizen be handed over with menaces, there is no way that an extradition would happen.

Stop, because it's time to stop looking at McKinnon, and start looking at the larger issue of the rights of UK citizens to a fair trial in UK courts.

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