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A peaceful protest took place on Tuesday outside the Home Office on Marsham Street in London against the extradition of self-confessed Nasa hacker Gary McKinnon to the US. A group of approximately 35 people chanted slogans demanding McKinnon be tried in the UK.
McKinnon was accused of one of the biggest military hacks ever, after he hacked into a series of sites belonging to the US Army, Air Force, Department of Defence and Nasa. The US government alleged that McKinnon's hacking activities caused $700,000 (£350,000) worth of damage. McKinnon has always maintained his activities were harmless, and that he was merely looking for evidence of UFOs.
McKinnon had his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights turned down last week, and is due to be extradited to the US. If found guilty of the hacking charges in a US court, McKinnon could face up to 70 years in jail under US anti-terrorism legislation.
Karen Todner, McKinnon's solicitor, said on Tuesday that she was preparing a further legal challenge should representations to home secretary Jacqui Smith fail. Todner had previously made representations to the Home Office asking that McKinnon serve any sentence in the UK, given his recent diagnosis with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism.
"It's the least that the Home Office could do," said Todner. "Both the Dutch and the Israelis ask for assurances from the US for all of their nationals, but this has never been covered in UK case law."
Should the home secretary reject McKinnon's plea, Todner said she was preparing to apply to the High Court to prevent Gary's extradition, in the light of McKinnon's Asperger's diagnosis.