Alleged hacker may be tried in Britain

LONDON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Gary McKinnon says he has new reason to believe he may not be extradited from Britain for allegedly hacking into U.S. military computers.

British prosecutors have agreed to put his extradition on hold for a month while they consider his request to have the case resolved in Britain, the BBC reported Tuesday.


"It's been a good day overall," McKinnon said Monday outside a London court. "For a change it's slightly good news -- a little ray of hope."

McKinnon faces up to four years in prison if he is tried and convicted in Britain. He faces up to 70 years if tried and convicted in U.S. courts, the BBC reported.

Prosecutors have been asked to consider McKinnon's recent diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome -- a type of autism -- and his claim that an obsession with computers naively led him to hack into the systems, said Simon Baron-Cohen, an Asperger's expert who diagnosed McKinnon.

"We should be thinking about this as the activity of somebody with a disability rather than a criminal activity," Baron-Cohen said.

McKinnon allegedly admitted breaking into the computers in 2001 and 2002, saying he was hunting for information on unidentified flying objects, the BBC reported.


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