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UK Law Lords hear appeal of alleged hacker set for extradition to US

[JURIST] A man accused of hacking US government computers in 2001 and 2002 appealed to the judicial panel of the UK House of Lords Monday, arguing [certified points of appeal, PDF] that his extradition to the US would violate his human rights. British police arrested systems analyst Gary McKinnon [BBC profile; advocacy website] in 2002, and US authorities indicted [PDF text] him later that year on charges of hacking NASA, Department of Defense, Air Force, Army and Navy computers in violation of US computer laws [18 USC 1030 text]. The British government granted the 2005 US extradition request, and McKinnon's lawyer appealed on the grounds that US authorities had threatened him to encourage a plea agreement. His lawyer said that US officials told McKinnon that if he did not plead guilty to the charges, he could be sentenced to life in prison since each of the seven counts against him is punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine [indictment press release]. The Telegraph has more.

In 2006, a UK court recommended [JURIST report] that the government extradite McKinnon to the US. His lawyers appealed, but in 2007 High Court judges ruled [opinion text] that there were no grounds for appeal. McKinnon has not denied the charges and has said that he was motivated by a desire to uncover "hidden technology" capable of benefiting all of mankind and evidence of UFOs, which he claims is being suppressed by the US military.

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