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January 2011



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The mother of Gary McKinnon, the internet hacker fighting extradition to the United States, broke down in tears yesterday after Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, allegedly refused to talk to her.

By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
Published: 6:50PM GMT 10 Nov 2009

During a break in a hearing before a House of Commons committee, Janis Sharp attempted to discuss her son’s case with Mr Johnson, who shook her hand but walked on in silence.

Earlier, Mrs Sharp had given moving evidence in which she told MPs that the 43-year-old autism sufferer would rather die than be extradited to the United States.

This summer, Mr McKinnon, who admits hacking into Pentagon computer systems but says that he should be tried in this country, lost a High Court appeal against the extradition request.

Mr Johnson has “stopped the clock” on the process while he considers new evidence that Mr McKinnon’s mental health is deteriorating as a result of the stress caused by the prospect of being extradited.

It was alleged that Mr Johnson “snubbed” Mrs Sharp during the hearing on Tuesday, but a Home Office spokesman has denied the claim.

“It is not true that the Home Secretary walked pass Mrs Sharpe in silence.

“As the Home Secretary walked back into the committee room, Mrs Sharpe shook the Home Secretary’s hand and thanked him for halting proceedings while he considered the additional medical evidence.

“The Home Secretary acknowledged Mrs Sharp before going back into committee,” he said.

During her evidence, Mrs Sharp urged Mr Johnson to intervene to protect her son, saying: “He would rather be dead than extradited, that’s the reality.”

She went on: “It has ruined Gary’s life, it has ruined our lives. It has destroyed Gary.

“The fear of being taken from your family, from your support, from everything you know.

Read in Full:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/6488508/Gary-McKinnons-mother-in-tears-after-snub-from-Alan-Johnson.html

Johnson unmoving in McKinnon grilling

Yesterday, 06:18 pm

By Alex Stevenson 

Home secretary Alan Johnson rejected claims that Britain’s extradition reputation was “going to hell in a hand cart”, as he was grilled by MPs over the potential extradition of computer hacker Gary McKinnon.

Mr Johnson restated his claims he was utterly powerless to stop the extradition of Mr McKinnon, a UFO enthusiast and computer hacker, who is facing a court case in the US for hacking into Pentagon computers.

His mother, Janis Sharp, who was giving evidence to the home affairs committee prior to Mr Johnson, managed to shake the home secretary’s hand but minders then intervened to prevent any further interaction.

Conservative committee member David T. C. Davies lamented the decline in Britain’s ability to exert control over its extradition situation.

“Your point seems to be we’re going to hell in a hand cart,” he told Mr Davies.

“That’s exactly my point,” Mr Davies replied.

Mr Johnson responded: “This is a ludicrous accusation.”

He was forced on to the defensive throughout the brief session as MPs questioned his handling of the McKinnon case.

The home secretary had previously stated: “If I were to oppose his extradition I would be breaking the law,” Mr Johnson wrote in the Times earlier this year.

That position remained the same during a recent Commons debate on the subject.

But eyebrows were raised when Mr Johnson then offered Mr McKinnon an 11th-hour reprieve, saying he would examine new medical evidence “very carefully” before giving the extradition the go ahead.

The decision gave Mr McKinnon’s lawyers time to consider medical reports on his Asperger’s syndrome and make legal representations.

He has “stopped the clock” on a 14-day period granted to consider whether an appeal to the European court of human rights should be made by Mr McKinnon’s lawyers.

Read in Full:  http://uk.news.yahoo.com/14/20091110/tpl-johnson-unmoving-in-mckinnon-grillin-81c5b50.html

You CAN save Gary McKinnon: MPs’ bombshell letter explodes Home Secretary’s claim that law makes him powerless to halt extradition

By James Slack and Michael Seamark
Last updated at 1:15 PM on 13th November 2009

Alan Johnson was last night told by a powerful group of MPs that he can and must halt the extradition of Gary McKinnon.

In a devastating letter, the Home Affairs Select Committee flatly rejected Mr Johnson’s claim that he is powerless to intervene.

Gary, who has Asperger’s syndrome and is said to be suicidal, is due to be handed over to the U.S. under the controversial Extradition Act.

There he faces up to 60 years in jail for hacking into Pentagon and Nasa computers while searching for proof of alien life.

But the Labour chairman of the committee, Keith Vaz, said the ‘precarious state’ of Gary’s mental health meant his removal should be stopped.

The letter also calls for a ‘comprehensive review’ of the entire Extradition Act – which is widely considered imbalanced against British citizens.

It is a stunning vindication for Gary’s supporters, and will pile enormous pressure on Mr Johnson to change his stance.

Earlier this year, the Mail presented the Home Secretary with evidence from two leading extradition lawyers stating that he could stop the removal on health grounds.

But Mr Johnson – while refusing to publish his own legal advice – stubbornly insisted that this was not the case.

Now – after studying the legal opinion obtained by the Mail, and holding a public evidence session with Mr Johnson and Gary’s mother Janis this week – the Home Affairs committee has sided with Gary, 43, and this newspaper.

Read in Full:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1227398/You-CAN-save-Gary-McKinnon-MPs-bombshell-letter-explodes-Johnson-claim-law-makes-powerless-halt-extradition.html?ITO=1490

MP calls for Scot who hacked Pentagon to be given job

Published Date: 19 November 2009

Home Secretary Boots Out Hacker’s Appeal

2 hours 27 mins ago

Fri Nov 27  2009 

The Home Secretary has rejected a last-ditch appeal for him to block the extradition of Gary McKinnon to the US on computer hacking charges.

Alan Johnson said he had considered demands for him to intervene in the case but had decided the extradition would not breach Mr McKinnon’s human rights.

The 43-year-old, from Wood Green in north London, is accused of breaking into the Pentagon’s computer system but says he was just seeking UFO evidence.

Mr McKinnon, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was given hope last month when the Home Secretary agreed to study new medical evidence before deciding on his extradition to the US.

Mr Johnson’s deliberations came after the High Court refused Mr McKinnon permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against his removal to America.

Mr McKinnon’s family say that his health has deteriorated significantly under the pressure of the pending extradition and fears about how he will be treated by the US authorities.

Now in a statement, Mr Johnson said: “I have carefully considered the representations in the case of Gary McKinnon.

“The information is not materially different from that placed before the High Court earlier this year and does not demonstrate that sending Mr McKinnon to the US would breach his human rights.”

He added: “As the courts have affirmed, I have no general discretion. If Mr McKinnon’s human rights would be breached, I must stop the extradition. If they would not be breached, the extradition must go ahead.”

Mr McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, said Mr Johnson and the Government “should hang their heads in shame”.

“To force a peaceful, vulnerable, misguided UFO fanatic like Gary thousands of miles away from his much-needed support network is barbaric,” she said.

“This is a cruel and miserable decision. If the severity of Gary’s medical condition isn’t sufficient to prevent his extradition, I can’t imagine what is.

“God help others facing a similar fate. I’m so upset and angry.”

Ms Sharp said her legal team would now apply for a judicial review, but if that was not granted then her son could be extradited before Christmas. “What a heartless and cowardly decision this is,” she added.

Source:  http://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20091126/twl-home-secretary-boots-out-hacker-s-ap-3fd0ae9.html


Gary McKinnon extradition: suicide ‘almost inevitable’ psychiatrist warns

Gary McKinnon, the Pentagon computer hacker, is highly likely to commit suicide if he is extradited to the US, a psychiatrist has warned.

By Christopher Hope and Andrew Porter
Published: 9:30AM GMT 27 Nov 2009

The medical report said Mr McKinnon, who is known to suffer Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, also has a “fixed-psychological conviction he will kill himself in preference to being extradited”.

The emergency study by consultant psychiatrist Professor Jeremy Turk of St George’s Hospital, London, said that suicide was now an “almost certain inevitability”.

Details of the report emerged following a decision by Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, not to block the extradition on medical grounds, as disclosed by The Daily Telegraph on Thursday.

Mr McKinnon’s distraught mother said the Government, and Mr Johnson, “should hang their heads in shame” over the extradition to face hacking charges.

Extracts of Prof Turk’s report, disclosed in the Daily Mail, show that he recorded in September that Mr McKinnon, 43, suffered from a “‘very serious Major Depressive Disorder…. aggravated and complicated by anxiety and panic attacks with multiple psychosomatic symptoms on a background of his having Asperger’s syndrome”.

But following the failure of Mr McKinnon’s bid to have his case heard at the Supreme Court, he concluded that he was now “at an even higher risk of self harm and suicide”, something he said was a “real probability”.

Mr Johnson, who was shown the report, said that he felt the information he had seen was “not materially different from that placed before the High Court earlier this year” when Mr McKinnon lost his earlier legal challenge.

He added: “It is clear from the proceedings to date that Mr McKinnon will not, if convicted, serve any of his sentence in a supermax prison.

“Should Mr McKinnon be extradited, charged and convicted in the US and seek repatriation to the UK to serve a custodial sentence, the Government will of course progress his application at the very earliest opportunity.”

The family, who were informed of Mr Johnson’s decision on Thursday, are now set to apply for a judicial review in a bid to stop his extradition.

Read in Full:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/6668291/Gary-McKinnon-extradition-suicide-almost-inevitable-psychiatrist-warns.html


Gary McKinnon faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted in the US
AFP/Getty Images
Gary McKinnon faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted in the US

Janis Sharp: ‘I wont rest. I don’t want to lose my son’

As another legal door shuts in the face of computer hacker Gary McKinnon, his mother fears for his life if he is extradited to the US. Jonathan Owen met her

Sunday, 29 November 2009

On an ordinary street in Hertfordshire, Janis Sharp is talking animatedly of an extraordinary fight: one which pitches her against the might of the greatest superpower on earth. In the background, two computer screens constantly flicker, bringing messages of support from around the world.

Her battle? A mother’s fight for her son, Gary McKinnon, a 43-year-old computer hacker with Asperger’s syndrome. He is facing extradition to the US under a draconian treaty designed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to deal with the most dedicated terror suspects.

And last week, Home Secretary Alan Johnson decided not to try to block the move – bringing Janis’s son one step closer to being extradited. If convicted, he could face an astonishing 70 years in a US jail.

His crime? A plot on the American way of life? Hardly. What this alien-obsessed computer fanatic did, in 2001 and 2002, was to explore restricted and classified military sites at the Pentagon and Nasa. It appears to have been all too easy, with little in the way to stop him. No one denies his actions were stupid, least of all him, or his mother. And he compounded the insult by posting daunting messages to the US authorities. One said: “I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels.”

Not, then, the sharpest tack in the box, but Solo, as he was known online, was no master hacker, let alone major criminal. He was caught in 2002. His biggest mistake may have been to admit his guilt freely, in the belief that he would escape with a six-month community sentence.

Instead he has been plunged into a drawn-out legal battle which has made him famous for all the wrong reasons. US authorities accuse him of having pulled off the biggest military hack of all time, and claim he caused hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of damage. Mr McKinnon has denied this, maintaining he was looking for proof that aliens exist. Supporters of the Free Gary campaign do not want him to escape justice; they simply want him to be tried and convicted in Britain and serve his time. To his mother, it is very simple. “If he’s admitted it, why can’t he be tried here?” said the 60-year-old, originally from Glasgow.

Her fight began more than seven years ago, when she was woken in the middle of the night by a phone call telling her her son had been arrested for computer hacking. When the US applied for extradition in 2005, under the terms of a new treaty with Britain, the family was faced with the real prospect that he could be sent abroad and sentenced up to 70 years in prison. The treaty, which doesn’t require America to provide evidence of guilt, is “the biggest betrayal that any British government has done to its own people”, said Janis.

Mr McKinnon is not able to give interviews because of his state of mind. His mother says medical experts have warned there is a 99 per cent chance he could commit suicide if he is extradited and imprisoned abroad. “It is unbelievable that Alan Johnson can claim extradition is not against Gary’s human rights,” she said. “To be in intense mental torture and fear for almost eight years is against anyone’s human rights. We would not do this to an animal.”

Janis’s eyes glint with fury as she talks about the injustice of her son facing the prospect of a lifetime behind bars in a US jail for a crime that British police didn’t bother to prosecute. She says she will do “whatever it takes” to prevent her son from being given what she says will be a death sentence. Her hopes were raised when Mr Johnson agreed to delay proceedings last month to look at medical evidence of her son’s state of mind. Earlier this month, the Commons’ Home Affairs Committee backed calls for the extradition to be halted because of his “precarious state of mental health”.

Read in Full:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/janis-sharp-i-wont-rest-i-dont-want-to-lose-my-son-1830401.html

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