British Hacker Won't Be Sent to US for Trial

Gary McKinnon accused of 'biggest military computer hack of all time'

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 16, 2012 8:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – After fighting extradition for seven years, the British man accused of the "biggest military computer hack of all time" will not be sent to the US to stand trial, Reuters reports. Britain's interior minister, Theresa May, withdrew the extradition order after finding that Gary McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, is "seriously ill" and at risk of committing suicide. British prosecutors will now decide if he must answer for any crimes in that country.

"I have concluded that Mr. McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr. McKinnon's human rights," May told parliament. McKinnon, 46, has admitted he hacked into Pentagon and NASA computers, but says he was just looking for UFO evidence. US officials accuse him of accessing 97 military and NASA computers between 2001 and 2002, causing more than $700,000 in damage, and disabling important naval systems. He faced up to 60 years in a US jail.

In this Wednesday May 10, 2006 file photo Gary McKinnon, accused of mounting the largest ever hack of United States government computer networks, listens to a reporter's question outside the Bow Magistrates Court in central London.
In this Wednesday May 10, 2006 file photo Gary McKinnon, accused of mounting the largest ever hack of United States government computer networks, listens to a reporter's question outside the Bow Magistrates...   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, file)
In this July 14, 2009 file photo Gary McKinnon leaves the High Court in London.
In this July 14, 2009 file photo Gary McKinnon leaves the High Court in London.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)
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