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Hacker's mother enters election race

PUBLISHED: 11:49 15 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:55 07 September 2010

Janis Sharp

Janis Sharp

THE mother of Crouch End computer hacker Gary McKinnon has decided to stand for parliament against Justice Secretary Jack Straw in Blackburn. Janis Sharp blames the MP for pushing through the extradition treaty being used to extradite Gary

Susanna Wilkey

THE mother of Crouch End computer hacker Gary McKinnon has decided to stand for parliament against Justice Secretary Jack Straw in Blackburn.

Janis Sharp blames the MP for pushing through the extradition treaty being used to extradite Gary to the US, where he faces many years in prison for hacking into the Pentagon's computer system.

She is furious about the erosion of civil liberties in Britain under the Labour government and says the country is slowly becoming like a "Nazi-state".

Ms Sharp, who is standing as an independent, has fought for years for her son, an Asperger's sufferer, to be tried in this country instead of being extradited to the US.

Former Highgate Wood school pupil Mr McKinnon, 43, is facing up to 60 years in jail in America for hacking into the US military computer system, looking for evidence of UFOs.

Ms Sharp said: "The reason I am standing is because I feel no-one is talking seriously enough about the erosion of civil liberties under this government. The reason I chose to stand against Jack Straw is because he has said in the past that it is undemocratic to use the Queen's Prerogative and outdated.

"But then the government used it to bring in this extradition treaty which is being used to extradite Gary. Jack Straw is hypocritical - it is unbelievable.

"They signed the treaty in secret - parliament did not see it until three months later. Jack Straw is also spearheading bringing in trial without jury."

Ms Sharp fears that trial without jury could soon become more widespread and is also angry that the government will have the power to take over computers because of illegal music downloading.

"Obviously illegal downloading should be stopped but if a teenager is illegally downloading music they can shut down the adult's computer," she said. "They can monitor what you are looking at on the internet. It is becoming like the Nazi state and no-one is highlighting this.

"We have more surveillance than any other European country and a DNA database which even young children are included on. Once we lose these rights we will never get them back. And no politician is highlighting civil liberties issues in the way they should be.

"If these issues are not highlighted other families will have to go through what we have with Gary, which is terrible. Our children and grandchildren will be having trials without juries, which is very dangerous.

"It is frightening. One day we will wake up in a Nazi style state - we are already well on our way with what has been happening."

Even though Ms Sharp lives in Hertfordshire she says it does not matter that she is standing in Blackburn because she is fighting for rights all over the country.

"Blackburn is very traditionally Labour," she said. "Mr Straw has a huge majority there but it does not matter if I get 10 votes or 10,000, I have made a stand.

"I only decided to stand at the last minute because I listened to the politicians on TV and thought that no-one was talking about the things that matter."

A High Court judge is now set to rule in May on whether the home secretary was wrong to allow the extradition of Mr McKinnon in the face of new medical evidence.

A spokesman for Jack Straw said: "In a democracy it is right that people, whether they belong to a political party or are individuals, are able to stand in elections and put their case to the public. There will be lots to debate over the coming weeks and it is a sign of the health of our democracy that people are able to stand.


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