[email protected]… Nick Clegg: If they drag McKinnon to America, he will never come back

Over at the Daily Mail, Nick Clegg mounts an impassioned attack against the decision to allow Gary McKinnon – the man with Asperger’s Syndrome who has admitted to being an amateur computer-hacker – to be extradited to the USA. Here’s an excerpt:

If he boards the plane to the U.S., it is almost certain he will never set foot on British soil again, doomed to pass out the rest of his days in shackles on a foreign shore. This is nothing short of a disgrace – and yet there is still one tiny glimmer of hope. Even now the courts have spoken their last, the Prime Minister and Attoroney General could step in.

Mr McKinnon committed his crimes in Britain. Expert lawyers assure me that, even at this 11th hour, the Government could prosecute him for those crimes here at home, instead of in the U.S. It is imperative that it does so. Quite simply, the rest of Mr McKinnon’s life is on the line.

It appals me that, so far at least, no one in government seems prepared to lift a finger to help him. You can be sure that if the situation was reversed, American politicians would be moving hell and high water to protect one of their citizens from such a gross injustice. It is an affront to British justice that no one in the Labour Party has the courage to do the same.

You can read Nick’s article in full HERE.

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  • Malcolm Todd 1st Aug '09 - 9:50pm

    I worry about the general approach to this issue, including that shown in this excerpt from Nick Clegg. Whatever the rights of Gary McKinnon’s case, and indeed of our extradition treaty with the US, what we seem to be calling for a straightforward interference by the executive in an individual case that is before the courts. I’m not a total believer in ‘separation of powers’, but I do think it’s dangerous to allow government interference in individual cases. Can anyone explain to me why this case should be an exception?

  • TB agrees stupid extradition treaty, stupid extradition treaty needs to be opted out of, but as doing so would presumably take time the effects of stupid extradition treaty need to be fixed asap by an interference by the executive.

    We can then opt out of the treaty so the situation doesn’t occur again.

  • If I was in gary McKinnon’s place I’d stab anyone who came to get me, thereby ensuring no extradition.

  • Malcolm Todd 3rd Aug '09 - 10:31am

    Hm, thanks James, but let’s see what happens if we paraphrase:

    Elected government makes treaty (and parliament passes law putting it into effect) that we don’t agree with. Court makes decision on basis of law that we don’t like. Therefore, call on government to act in contravention of well-established principle that we (like almost all democrats) usually support and indeed is widely considered quite fundamental to liberty.

    Once the law is amended to something we agree with we can resume supporting the principle and oppose executive interference in judicial matters.

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