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FAIR POINT: Why I can’t share this mother’s victory

Janis Sharp, mother of Gary McKinnon, arrives for a press conference at her solicitors in London today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 16, 2012. See PA story POLITICS McKinnon. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Janis Sharp, mother of Gary McKinnon, arrives for a press conference at her solicitors in London today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 16, 2012. See PA story POLITICS McKinnon. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Any mother would do the same; fight tooth and nail to protect her son.

But while I totally understand the motivation for Janis Sharp’s decade-long-battle to prevent her son having to face the American law courts, I don’t share her jubilation as, this week, we learned that he will not be extradited by the British government.

Gary McKinnon will not have to face trial in America for hacking into the computers of the U.S. Defense Department from his bedroom in London ten years ago - an offence of potentially huge magnitude.

In a revolutionary move, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced she will not obey America’s demands.

Campaigners herald this as a long overdue shake-up of Britain’s lopsided extradition laws; from now on, says May, initial judicial hearings will take place in the UK to assess whether a trial and prosecution can be dealt with on home soil. Fair enough.

But Gary’s case was won on the grounds that he is too ill; that he is so depressed, he could commit suicide if extradited. It’s emotional blackmail.

The US is livid. It is calling the Home Secretary’s justification ‘laughable.’ Under such logic, all a person has to do to avoid extradition is to say he’s going to kill himself, say White House officials. I can see their point.

What I don’t understand is why a mother strong and challenging enough to take on the establishment and garner support in powerful places failed to exert control her Asperger son’s computer activities.

 

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