Yesterday peaceful demonstrators protested the US extradition of Gary McKinnon (aka Solo), a Brit accused of hacking military and NASA computers. McKinnon, who lost his appeal to stay in the UK, could spend the rest of his life in an American prison if convicted.
The US alleges that unemployed computer systems administrator McKinnon completed the biggest military computer hack ever. McKinnon says he only wanted information on UFOs. But he did allegedly leave a note on one hacked system that might not help his defense. It said:
US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days . . . It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand-down on September 11 last year . . . I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels.
McKinnon's lawyers say that before he is extradited, the US must assure the UK that he would serve his sentence in the UK after he's convicted abroad.
To see why they say McKinnon's human rights are at stake,
McKinnon's advocates also note that he suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, and that extraditing him would violate his human rights because the sentence in the UK would only be a few years compared to a potential for life in the US. Should Americans take note when citizens of another country say that punishment in the US justice system would be disproportionate to the crime, or is the US in the unique position of judging what punishment McKinnon deserves?