Alleged Brit hacker facing extradition

Aug. 2, 2009 at 3:03 PM

LONDON, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- British officials say they cannot stop the extradition of an autistic man accused of hacking into U.S. government computers to the United States.

But Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labor Party, told the BBC Sunday she will ask U.S. officials that should they find Gary McKinnon guilty, the Asperger's syndrome sufferer be allowed to serve his sentence in Britain, The Sunday Times of London reported.

McKinnon's mother, Janis Sharp, says her son would suffer a severe mental breakdown if jailed in the United States for allegedly hacking into U.S. government computer networks, including 97 military computers. She contends Home Secretary Alan Johnson has the power to prevent her son's extradition.

But Johnson disagreed, saying that under a treaty with the United States, he can only prevent extradition when the person in question could be sentenced to death and other limited circumstances.

"If found guilty, we will seek for (McKinnon) to be sentenced to serve prison in this country," Harman told the BBC.

Sharp told The Sunday Times she was writing to U.S. President Barack Obama to asking for clemency for her son.

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