The Home Secretary has revealed that NASA hacker Gary McKinnon will be "treated fairly" as a judge decides whether of not to extradite him to the US.

McKinnon, who has been accused of breaking into US military computers, including those belonging to NASA, in a bid to prove the US government had knowledge of UFOs in 2001, was told by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson last month that being extradited to the US to face trial would not breach his human rights.

However, McKinnon's lawyers applied for a judicial review, claiming he suffers from of ''very severe depression'' and is in danger of killing himself in preference to being extradited. Mckinnon also suffers from Asperger's syndrome.

McKinnon's fate now lies in the hands of a judge who will decide whether the case has grounds and if it should go to a full hearing. If this still fails to resolve the matter, it could be taken to the European Court of Human Rights

''The fact that I stopped the clock once should be a clue in terms of my absolute determination to ensure Gary McKinnon is treated fairly," Johnson said.

''He is charged with very serious offences and he has to answer to those charges. But I am absolutely determined he will be treated fairly and has been treated fairly.''

The US claims McKinnon's hacking activies caused $700,000 (£433,000). It also alledges he stole 950 passwords, deleted files at a naval base in New Jersey and rendered the military computer networks used following September 11 useless.

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See also: NASA hacker extradition delayed by Home Office