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 Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Judges grant McKinnon extradition review

Judges have granted a review of the Home Secretary's decision to continue with extradition proceedings against Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon.

The decision - by Lord Justice Maurice Key and Mr Justice Simon - places a judicial block on attempts to haul McKinnon over to the US on hacking offences, irrespective of whether UK prosecutors decide to press charges in Britain. In a statement issued on Friday, McKinnon's lawyers Kaim Todner welcomed the decision, pointing out that even though McKinnon took his appeal against extradition all the way up to the House of Lords, no court has considered the impact of extradition in light of McKinnon's recent diagnosis with Asperger's syndrome.

Since his diagnosis, autism experts have expressed concern over whether the 43-year-old could handle extradition, let alone the likelihood of trial and imprisonment in the US. It's unclear whether the Home Office has obtained promises that McKinnon would be immediately repatriated to the UK after any prospective US trial, assurance obtained at the last minute in the case of the NatWest Three, who were extradited to the US in 2006.

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