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Nasa hacker granted Lords appeal

Gary McKinnon, the Briton whom US authorities wish to extradite on charges of hacking into Nasa's computer systems, has been given leave to appeal to the House of Lords

Gary McKinnon, the Briton who has admitted hacking into Nasa's computer systems, has been given leave to appeal against extradition to the US.

McKinnon was granted leave on Thursday to appeal to the Law Lords, a group of senior UK judges, on the grounds of the nature of plea agreement discussions with representatives of the US authorities.

His appeal will be heard "sometime in the New Year", according to his solicitors, Kaim Todner.

The US government wishes to try McKinnon on charges of unauthorised access to Nasa's systems.

According to Kaim Todner, during the plea bargaining process between November 2002 and April 2003, US government representatives attempted to coerce McKinnon so he would not oppose extradition proceedings.

"The US representatives promised [McKinnon] a greatly reduced sentence and that they would facilitate repatriation [if McKinnon co-operated], but that if he opposes they would throw the book at him," said Jeff Anderson, assistant to McKinnon's solicitor. "They said that were he found guilty, he would be put in a super-maximum security facility in Colorado, and spend much of his time in solitary confinement. They told him he would fry."

Anderson said that the US authorities had later denied this claim.

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