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NASA Hacker's extradition review adjourned

Lawyer hopes move signals reprive for Gary McKinnon

NASA hacker Gary McKinnon's court hearing has been cancelled while the government reconsiders an extradition order that would send him to face a US trial.

A judicial review scheduled to begin next Tuesday in the High Court has been adjourned by the Home Office, which oversees criminal justice affairs, lawyers for McKinnon said on Thursday.

"I hope this may be a signal of a more compassionate and caring home secretary and one that is willing to defend the rights of our citizens," McKinnon's lawyer, Karen Todner, said.

The latest turn in the case is a sign that McKinnon may get a sympathetic ear from Britain's new coalition government, composed of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Prime Minister and leader of the Conservatives David Cameron and Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, lent their support to McKinnon last year, questioning the terms of the UK-US extradition treaty and the circumstances of McKinnon's case.

The new Home Secretary Theresa May is a Conservative.

McKinnon, whose extradition was approved in 2006, has yet to face trial in the US.

McKinnon was indicted by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2002 for hacking into 97 military and NASA computers between February 2001 and March 2002. He could face up to 60 years in prison.

He is fighting extradition on grounds he has Asperger's syndrome, a neurological disorder related to autism characterized by deficiencies in social interaction.

McKinnon, who is rarely seen in public, is also suffering from depression, according to his family.

McKinnon, who went by the name 'Solo', contends he was merely searching for proof of the existence UFOs and didn't harm the systems he is accused of hacking.

The US military alleges that McKinnon deleted critical files from its computers, which hampered its efforts after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

See also: NASA hacker McKinnon puts hopes in new govt


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