'End my son's torment': Gary McKinnon's mother writes appeal letter to Obama
Last updated at 12:07 AM on 11th May 2011
Plea: Janis Sharp fears her son, Gary McKinnon, will commit suicide if he is extradited to America for computer hacking
The mother of Gary McKinnon has written an open letter to President Obama imploring him to end her son’s torment.
Janis Sharp has urged David Cameron to raise his plight when Mr Obama arrives in the UK for an official visit this month.
The Americans are demanding the extradition of the 45-year-old computer hacker, who has Asperger’s syndrome, despite medical experts warning he will kill himself if sent abroad.
He faces up to 60 years behind bars if forced to stand trial in the U.S. for hacking into Pentagon and Nasa computers between February 2001 and March 2002 while searching for evidence of ‘little green men’.
His mother tells Mr Obama: ‘Gary does not deserve to be driven to suicide . . . I do not deserve to lose my only child.’
Last July the president gave fresh hope to Gary’s supporters when he promised to find an ‘appropriate solution’ after David Cameron spoke about the case on his first visit to the White House.
Home Secretary Theresa May agreed to halt the extradition last year, saying she wanted to ensure Gary, from Enfield, North London, was treated ‘fairly’.
Since the Daily Mail launched a campaign to have him tried in Britain the Government has agreed to review the controversial 2003 Extradition Act – but Gary’s mother is at loggerheads with the Home Office over the choice of independent expert to reassess her son’s health.
With Mrs Sharp having accused Nick Clegg, one of Gary’s staunchest supporters before he became Deputy Prime Minister, of ‘washing his hands’ of the case, she hopes Mr Obama will heed her pleas.
THE NEW MINISTER WHO BACKS HIS CASE
One of Gary McKinnon’s staunchest supporters has been made a senior government minister in the department responsible for extradition.
Campaigners hope the Home Office’s appointment of Baroness Browning will give the Asperger’s sufferer a far stronger voice inside Whitehall.
The former Tory MP, who has held face-to-face meetings with Gary’s mother and has an autistic child herself, previously organised a letter signed by 40 MPs calling on Barack Obama to end the ‘shameful’ legal proceedings against Gary.
Baroness Browning has also warned the House of Lords that ‘the evidence already before the Home Office shows overwhelmingly that the threat of [Gary committing] self-harm is not an idle threat but is very real’.
She even called on the U.S. government to give Gary a job working on computer security for the Pentagon rather than pursue him through the courts.
The Home Office is currently holding a review of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and UK. Critics say it is lopsided in favour of the Americans.
Baroness Browning takes over responsibility for explaining what is happening with the review in the Lords following the resignation of Home Office Minister Baroness Neville-Jones on Monday.
The President and First Lady are due to begin a three-day trip to the UK on May 24 during which they are scheduled to meet the Queen and the Prime Minister.
In ‘the most important letter I will ever write, as my son Gary’s life depends on it’, Mrs Sharp describes how the fear of extradition has devastated her vulnerable son.
‘For our governments to literally force him to submit to what in his opinion is a terror worse than death is nothing less than inhumane torture, and punishment far in excess of that fitting the crime,’ she writes.
‘To inflict such extreme agony on an individual in order to make an example of him in another country is far too high a moral price to pay. Gary realises and accepts that he was wrong to access U.S. computers.
‘However, his eccentric crime, born of his obsessional interest, does not merit the torment he has suffered ever since he understood that the U.S. were determined to remove him from the land he was born in to take him 5,000 miles away from his home, family and support network . . . [Gary] has never tried to avoid justice, but asks only to be tried in the UK.
‘In terms of the law it does not matter which country Gary is tried in, but it is in the interest of humanity and natural justice for Gary to be tried in the UK.’
She adds: ‘No-one in the world has ever been extradited for hacking. For someone like Gary to be the first would be a damning indictment of U.S. and UK justice.’
In March, peers demanded an immediate end to Gary’s decade of ‘psychological torture’. Lord Maginnis described his treatment during the extradition process as ‘unbelievable and unforgivable’.
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
Gary McKinnon's mother Jan Sharp writes appeal letter to Obama | Mail Online