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US hacker reveals he has Asperger's syndrome

PUBLISHED: 16:35 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:21 07 September 2010

Photo: © Pete Millson 10/05/2006
Mobile: 07768 077 353 | email: mail@petemillson.com
UK hacker Gary McKinnon should be recommended for extradition to the US, a district judge has ruled.
The decision means Mr McKinnon will face trial in America for what the US has called

Photo: © Pete Millson 10/05/2006 Mobile: 07768 077 353 | email: mail@petemillson.com UK hacker Gary McKinnon should be recommended for extradition to the US, a district judge has ruled. The decision means Mr McKinnon will face trial in America for what the US has called "the biggest military hack of all time". Pic taken outside Bow Street Magistrate's Court, Covent Garden, London.

© Pete Millson

THE computer hacker who brought down a military network has lost his appeal against his extradition – despite new medical evidence showing he suffers from Asperger s syndrome Gary McKinnon, 42, is accused of causing $700,000 worth of damage when he hack

THE computer hacker who brought down a military network has lost his appeal against his extradition - despite new medical evidence showing he suffers from Asperger's syndrome

Gary McKinnon, 42, is accused of causing $700,000 worth of damage when he hacked into US Nasa and naval systems from his Crouch End home in 2002.

The distraught former Highgate Wood pupil took his case to the highest court in the land, the European Court of Human Rights, in a last-ditch attempt to avoid extradition to the US.

But the court ruled against him on Thursday and he faces being sent to the US within weeks where he faces up to 60 years in prison.

Speaking after the appeal, Mr McKinnon's solicitor, Karen Todner, said: "The appeal is lost. He is completely distraught, all of them are, his family, his girlfriend."

Ms Todner said her client would now appeal to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

"Failing that he will be extradited ... probably within the next three weeks," she added.

She said her client had recently been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and hoped Smith would take this information into account.

Mr McKinnon's mother, Janis Sharp, claims her son's illness emerged during his many public appearances.

She said: "Only because doctors and people wrote to and telephoned Gary's solicitors after seeing him speaking on TV, did Gary's diagnosis come about."

"We didn't know Gary had Asperger's but looking back it was staring us in the face had we known what to look for.

"He is very trusting. People with Asperger's are naive yet intelligent, can't lie and have a heightened sense of justice. Passions become obsessions and they often relate more to machines than to people, hence the computer addiction."

She says the European Court of Human Rights was told about Mr McKinnon's condition yesterday.

Mrs Sharp, 59, said: "The ECHR ruled against Gary this morning and couldn't possibly have given any time whatsoever to consider the medical information, which they only received yesterday afternoon."

Mr McKinnon told the court his extradition would breach human rights.

In an interview with the Ham&High earlier this month, he said: "It's surreal to be considered a terrorist. I feel hung, drawn and quartered. There's no way I'll face a fair trial in America.


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