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Gary McKinnon's Mother Calls For Hacker To Be Tried In UK

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GARY MCKINNON
Gary McKinnon | PA

The mother of computer hacker Gary McKinnon has called for her son to stand trial in Britain as she spoke of how attempts to extradite him to the US have "destroyed" his life.

Janis Sharp told BBC Breakfast: "This will be his 10th Christmas since his arrest and it has destroyed his life and it has destroyed ours. Here the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in 2002 that Gary was looking at six months' community service but then when the Americans took over suddenly it becomes 60 years. So there is a huge disparity."

Ms Sharp was speaking after MPs urged the Government to improve safeguards for British citizens wanted by authorities overseas by reforming extradition laws.

Glasgow-born Mr McKinnon hacked into top secret military computers in 2002. American officials have demanded that he is tried in the US despite expert opinions obtained by Mr McKinnon's legal team warning that his mental condition could lead him to attempt suicide.

The 45-year-old, from Wood Green, north London, admits the crimes but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs.

Ms Sharp said: "Our argument is to try Gary here and to be given a proportional sentence. To go from six months to 60 years is

The Commons debate was granted by the backbench business committee to Tory Dominic Raab, who called for ministers to "inject a dose of common sense into the blunt extradition regime". Mr Raab said: "Gary McKinnon should not be treated like some gangland mobster or al Qaida mastermind."

The UK's extradition treaty with the US has been criticised in relation to a number of high-profile and long-running cases including McKinnon and terror suspect Babar Ahmad.

Conservative former shadow home secretary David Davis said existing "draconian" extradition systems were established to deal with terror suspects but were used for many, less serious allegations.

"Between 2003 and 2009 there were 63 extraditions to the USA. Of those, precisely one was a terrorist," added Mr Davis. "The truth is we are going to have far more Gary McKinnons extradited than we are Osama bin Ladens."

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