In The Words of The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
Writing in the Mail last July, Mr Clegg said extraditing Gary would be a 'travesty of
'Gary McKinnon has been hung out to dry by a British government desperate to
appease its American counterparts,' he wrote.
'Under British hacking laws he could still face up to five years in prison. Gordon
Brown must give his personal guarantee that Gary McKinnon will be tried in Britain.
'Leaving him to rot on the other side of the Atlantic is nothing short of cruel.'
Daily Mail, 13th May 2010
"It is wrong. It is simply wrong for our government to have signed a treaty in secret which sells our rights down the river while protecting the rights of American citizens. It is certainly wrong to send a vulnerable young man to his fate in the United States when he could and should be tried here instead. It is simply a matter of doing the right thing."
Nick Clegg November 2009
If they drag McKinnon to America, he will never come back
By Nick Clegg
Daily Mail on 4th August 2009
'Amateur computer hacker': Gary McKinnon is not the international cyber-terrorist the U.S. would have us believe
Yesterday's decision to allow Gary McKinnon to be extradited to the U.S. is a hammer blow to British justice. A vulnerable man with Asperger's Syndrome now faces up to 60 years in one of America's toughest jails.
If he boards the plane to the U.S., it is almost certain he will never set foot on British soil again, doomed to pass out the rest of his days in shackles on a foreign shore.
This is nothing short of a disgrace - and yet there is still one tiny glimmer of hope. Even now the courts have spoken their last, the Prime Minister and Attorney General could step in. Mr McKinnon committed his crimes in Britain. Expert lawyers assure me that, even at this 11th hour, the Government could prosecute him for those crimes here at home, instead of in the U.S. It is imperative that it does so. Quite simply, the rest of Mr McKinnon's life is on the line.
It appals me that, so far at least, no one in government seems prepared to lift a finger to help him. You can be sure that if the situation was reversed, American politicians would be moving hell and high water to protect one of their citizens from such a gross injustice.
It is an affront to British justice that no one in the Labour Party has the courage to do the same.
Government ministers have let this sorry saga drag on for seven years, heaping misery on Mr McKinnon, his family and his supporters.
In the face of opposition from across the political spectrum, from the media and from the public, they have presided over a travesty of justice. And it is all part of a pattern: the Government is so eager to please its friends in the U.S. that it buckles to U.S. demands on everything from military intelligence through to the basic rules of justice.
No one is suggesting that Gary McKinnon should get away scot free. He has confessed to some serious crimes and, if tried under British computer-hacking laws, he would still face the very real prospect of serving years behind bars.
He is not, however, the international cyber-terrorist the Americans would have us believe - he is an amateur computer hacker without malicious intent and with no previous criminal history.
The U.S. authorities are trying to make an example of Mr McKinnon partly because he decided to fight the extradition - they offered to press far lesser charges if he came quietly without making a fuss. It is shocking that, simply because he exercised his basic right to challenge the extradition, he has been labelled a terrorist and treated like one, too.
But it is even more shocking that the Labour government has sat blithely by and watched it happen. It is time for Gordon Brown and his Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, to step in and do the decent thing.
And once that's done, they must tear up the unequal, unfair treaty they signed with George Bush, under which the American authorities have sought Mr McKinnon's extradition, and negotiate a new one with President Obama's administration.
Yet this case is about more than legal technicalities and political treaties. It is about compassion, knowing the difference between right and wrong - and the sorry truth is that the Labour Party lost its moral compass long ago.
It tried to stop Gurkhas who were prepared to die for Britain from having the right to live here. It is embroiled in allegations of complicity in torture of British citizens abroad.
And now it shows no sympathy for a man with an autistic spectrum disorder who committed his crimes on British soil, confessed to British police, and simply wants the chance to face up to British justice.
It would be fair and it would be right to try Mr McKinnon in Britain. But the clock is ticking. The Prime Minister just needs to pick up the phone to make this prosecution happen. I urge him to do so, before it is too late.