McKinnon's extradition delayed again over human rights

EU courts have asked Great Britain to not send the accused mastermind of a DOD systems break-in to the US, in order that they can review his complaint that conditions in US prisons are inhumane.

Gary McKinnon is accused of "the biggest military hack of all time:" breaking into computer systems owned by the Pentagon, US Army, the Navy, and NASA systems. Motivated by a search for real-world evidence of UFOs, he is accused of doing $700,000 worth of damage to the computers he broke into.

In one case, he rendered critical systems inoperable at Earle Naval Weapons Station in northern New Jersey shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Over a month of work was required in order to bring the systems back online.

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In an order Wednesday, the European Court of Human Rights said it needed time to investigate claims of human rights issues in US jails before McKinnon could be extradited.

The court said in a statement that the hacker's request came under a provision within the European Convention on Human Rights that prohibits "inhuman or degrading treatment." McKinnon's lawyers argued he would be treated to such if convicted in the US.

"The applicant should not be extradited to the United States before midnight on 29 August 2008. This was in order to allow the Chamber to examine the request at the earliest opportunity, namely at its meeting on 28 August 2008," the Court said last week.

US prosecutors say they are willing to ask for a shortened four year sentence if he pleads guilty. However, if McKinnon continues to fight, they will ask the court to impose a 70-year sentence.

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