[email protected]: Alex Carlile – Why it would be cruel not to put Gary McKinnon on trial in Britain

Over at the Daily Mail, Lib Dem peer Lord (Alex) Carlile, the independent reviewer of British anti-terrorist laws, takes up the case of Asperger’s sufferer Gary McKinnon, who is under threat of potentially health-threatening extradition to the USA after he hacked his way methodically into protected documents. Lord Carlile argues he should be tried in the British courts:

Gary McKinnon is immature, vulnerable and sadly without insight into the effect he sometimes has on others. He suffers from a severe form of Asperger’s Syndrome. He is obsessive and can be difficult. He hates any changes of routine. Medical evidence shows him to be heavily reliant on being at or near to his home. His life could be ruined entirely by forced removal abroad. Prison would hold real fears for him: a foreign prison would be near to torture and would wreck his already complicated life. …

… [the Americans] are demanding Gary be extradited to the U.S. to be tried for offences with a potential prison sentence possibly measured in decades. Gary admits what he did. His fragile state of mind would affect his sentence, but not his guilt, I fear. As a Parliamentarian with involvement in the law and an interest in human rights, I have twice written to successive Home Secretaries to urge that Gary be tried in Britain.

The medical evidence favours this overwhelmingly. If necessary, he could survive prison here without his life being wrecked beyond repair. The Government has argued that it cannot prevent the extradition as a matter of law, and has no discretion in the case. However, it is wrong. …

I see no disadvantage to either country, or otherwise, in Gary McKinnon being prosecuted in Britain. Were he to be extradited, however, and then suffer the consequences predicted by the leading medical experts in autism spectrum disorders, the decision not to prosecute him here would be cruel and unconscionable.

You can read the article in full HERE.

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This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • Many people with Asperger’s would prefer to think of it as a manageable condition rather than something they “suffer” from or are a “victim” of. Just a thought.

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