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Stars lined up for Live Aid concert for hacker

PUBLISHED: 16:09 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:38 07 September 2010

A ROCK concert featuring guitar heroes Marillion is being organised in support of computer hacker and former Highgate Wood pupil, Gary McKinnon. And pop legends George Michael, Brian May and Jamiroquai have been tipped to join the line-up. Mr McKinnon, 4

A ROCK concert featuring guitar heroes Marillion is being organised in support of computer hacker and former Highgate Wood pupil, Gary McKinnon.

And pop legends George Michael, Brian May and Jamiroquai have been tipped to join the line-up.

Mr McKinnon, 42, is currently awaiting extradition after being accused of causing $700,000 worth of damage when he allegedly hacked into US security systems from his Crouch End home in 2002.

Ross Hemsworth, managing director of Glastonbury Radio has written to more than 100 bands including the Kaiser Chiefs and Madonna, to perform at a "Live-Aid style event" in December.

The Rock Against Injustice concert aims to raise awareness about Mr McKinnon's plight and the UK's extradition treaty with the US.

Mark Kelly, keyboardist for Marillion, told Broadway: "I've been following Gary's story for a while. I took an interest in it because I'm a bit of a computer geek myself.

"Being a keyboard player, it goes with the territory.

"I thought he seemed quite harmless. He was only looking for UFOs.

His story struck a chord with me. When I heard he was being extradited, it seemed so unjust. He shouldn't be made an example of just because of American incompetence."

Mr Hemsworth, who presents the radio programme Now That's Weird, said: "Gary is very excited about the concept of the concert and the single.

"The main reason for the concert is to get public support for the changing of the UK and US extradition treaty and to call for the people awaiting extradition to be tried in the UK, not just Gary McKinnon, but all of them held under this unfair extradition treaty.

"Every British citizen should be worried about this." Mr Hemsworth is currently organising a venue for the concert, and has his sights set on the O2 Arena or Wembley. "It's going to be a challenge to organise this all in the next few weeks," Mr Hemsworth added.

"But I work well under pressure and a concert is a good way to get more publicity for Gary."

Mr Hemsworth, who is also UK director of the International UFO Congress, also plans to organise a "Band Aid style" song recorded at Abbey Road studios and hopes George Michael will sing Mr McKinnon's own single, Only a Fool.

All proceeds from the concert will go to the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, after Mr McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome in August.

Meanwhile, a petition calling on MPs to debate the extradition treaty has been rejected by the Prime Minister's office, for being "offensive, intemperate, or provocative".

More than 60 MPs have now signed an early day motion (EDM) in Parliament asking for any custodial sentence to be served by Mr McKinnon in the UK rather than the US.


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