Hacker Gary’s mum anxiously waits for president’s reply to her letter to America
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
COMPUTER hacker Gary McKinnon’s mother has written to US President Barack Obama begging him to drop extradition proceedings which could see her son spend up to 60 years in an American jail.
Mr McKinnon, from Palmers Green, admits hacking into 97 American military computers in 2001 and 2002 and US prosecutors want to bring him to America to face terrorism charges.
But the 44-year-old’s mother Janis Sharp is hoping a heart-felt plea to Mr Obama, who is on a state visit to the UK next week, will convince him to let Mr McKinnon be tried in the UK.
Mrs Sharp said the letter to Mr Obama is “the most important letter I will ever write as my son Gary’s life depends on it”.
Last year Mr Obama met with Prime Minister David Cameron and said he hoped they would be able to find a way forward.
Home Secretary Theresa May is currently deciding whether to block the extradition proceedings against Mr McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger syndrome, on health grounds. Home Office officials want him to be assessed by their two appointed expert psychiatrists but Mr McKinnon is refusing to be examined by them because he says neither is an expert in Asperger’s – a form of autism.
A member of the House Of Lords has also put a series of questions to the Home Office which must be answered by the end of today. Lord Ken Maginnis called for the most recent communication between the government and the US concerning Mr McKinnon to be made public and asked whether they have considered the impact of waiting years for a conclusion upon Mr McKinnon’s health.
Mrs Sharp told the Advertiser that she hopes BBC journalist Andrew Marr will bring up her son’s extradition when he interviews Mr Obama during next week’s visit. She said: “Andrew has interviewed me before, so it would be common sense that he would ask him about it.
“It has been terrible for Gary. Ten years have gone by and to everybody here it seems ludicrous that this is still going on.
“This extradition treaty was meant for terrorists, not a lone man in his room in north London playing around with his computer. This has been ten years of mental torture.”
Mrs Sharp said she was also delighted that Baroness Browning – a vocal supporter of Mr McKinnon – has been appointed a minister at the Home Office.
She added: “I feel very optimistic because Baroness Browning also has a son with autism and she has been a great supporter of Gary.”