McKinnon extradition fight 'cruel'

Gary McKinnon will find out on Tuesday if he will be reprieved from extradition to the US

Gary McKinnon will find out on Tuesday if he will be reprieved from extradition to the US

First published in National News © by

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon's 10-year battle against extradition to the United States has been like "waterboarding of the mind", his mother has said.

Janis Sharp said the ups and downs of his fight were "so cruel" as she desperately hopes Home Secretary Theresa May blocks the extradition and ends his pain on Tuesday. McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger syndrome, admits hacking into US military computers but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs.

Ms Sharp said: "It's like waterboarding of the mind - you're elated you're down, it's so cruel. I'm still scared and will be waking up at 3am tomorrow."

She did however admit that a Home Office report saying McKinnon was very likely to attempt to kill himself if extradited, along with a US defence expert's comments that hackers should be recruited rather than prosecuted, had raised her hopes.

Ms Sharp added: "It makes me optimistic, but nevertheless I'm still scared, we've had so many ups and downs."

So many, she said, that it had been "like waterboarding of the mind", a simulated drowning technique which became notorious after its use by CIA interrogators on Guantanamo Bay terror suspects.

Prime Minister David Cameron has raised McKinnon's case with US President Barack Obama twice "and each time I thought we were nearly home and dry but nothing happens", Ms Sharp said.

"I'm more optimistic now. I don't see how they could say that in evidence and then extradite. It's quite a change to how it was previously."

Both Mr Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, have previously publicly condemned plans to send McKinnon to the US.

"People like this would not use Gary's case as a key part of an election campaign and then leave him for two-and-a-half years and then throw him to the wolves," Ms Sharp added.

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