French Courts Approve U.S. Extradtion of UK Hacker

A French court has approved the extradition of UK hacker Gary McKinnon to the U.S.

Gary McKinnon’s last chance to block an extradition order was to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in France. Mr. McKinnon claimed it was a violation of his rights to be prosecuted and imprisoned in the U.S. and so, following several attempts to block extradition in Britain, McKinnon’s lawyers took the appeal to France in a last ditch effort to have Gary tried and serve his time in the UK.

A couple of weeks back, a former prosecutor working on the case said that McKinnon was “grasping at straws” and that his extradition to the U.S. was imminent. Scott Christie doubted that the ECHR would side with McKinnon.

"At this point and time, there’s no indication the European court will give any credibility to his argument. It would be premature for him to believe that he has found a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. For all the reasons he didn’t prevail in the U.K., he shouldn’t prevail there,” said Christie. “Enough already, Mr. McKinnon."

McKinnon expressed fears that if extradited he would have to stand trial in a military court as a terrorist, and ultimately, end up serving out his sentence in Guantanamo Bay. While Christie believed these fears to be irrational and said that Mr. McKinnon had never been classified or treated as a terrorist and remained adamnet he would be treated as a “run-of-the-mill criminal with a run-of-the-mill crime,” McKinnon’s lawyers are pessimistic about the most recent ruling from the French courts.

"He now faces the prospect of prosecution and imprisonment thousands of miles away from his family in a country in which he has never set foot,’’ his lawyer, Karen Todner, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg.

McKinnon is accused of scanning over 73,000 U.S. government computers (including NASA and Pentagon machines) and gaining access to 97 of them with his dial-up modem and some off-the-shelf software. McKinnon allegedly took over 2,000 computers offline at the U.S. Army Military District of Washington for 24 hours and disable a network of 300 machines at a Naval weapons station in New Jersey. His antics cost the U.S. government a reported $700,000 in damages.

Related Links

Former Prosecutor Says UK Hacker Extradition "imminent"

UK Hacker Loses Appeal to Block Extradition to US

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