Gabriel Middleton

Gary McKinnon is a victim of injustice

Gary McKinnon is a victim of injustice
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Well done to the Mail for their continued support for Gary McKinnon, whose case featured on their front page a couple of days ago. It was a bold decision, but absolutely the right thing to do. Unless Alan Johnson steps in at the last minute, an awful injustice is about to take place. Gary McKinnon is the 43-year-old from Hertfordshire who hacked into US military computers, looking for evidence of UFOs. No-one is denying that he has committed a crime ­ least of all Gary who made a full confession to the police.

And, yes, Gary deserves to be punished - a light sentence or community service would be best. Instead - and although he could easily be tried in this country - he is to be extradited to the US. Once there, he will face six counts of computer fraud under a 1950s law designed to protect nuclear secrets. The law allows a sentence of 10 years on each charge and, because Gary will be prosecuted as a terrorist, he will probably be sentenced to 60 years.  The New Jersey  prosecutors have already said they want to see him "fry".

But Gary is not a terrorist, he's a mild-mannered computer nerd with Aspergers syndrome who won¹t survive a year, let alone 60, in a US high security prison. And he was so concerned about the Defense department¹s useless security that he left messages to warn them: "Your security is crap!" The Americans want him to suffer because he made them look foolish when instead they should be thanking him for highlighting their appalling security.

It was wrong of John Reid to cave in to American pressure to approve the extradition order and wrong of Jacqui Smith to uphold it. Gary's last hope is that Alan Johnson proves himself as sensible on this issue as he has been on the subject of ID cards.