UK blocks extradition of alleged hacker to US



London: A British computer hacker's decade-long struggle to avoid trial in the US over alleged breaches of military and NASA networks ended in success Tuesday, as the UK government ruled he was unfit to face charges there.

Home Secretary Theresa May said she had blocked the US request to extradite Gary McKinnon after medical experts concluded he was seriously depressed and that there was "a high risk of him ending his life."

The 46-year-old unemployed computer administrator, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, was accused of one of the largest ever breaches of military networks, carried out soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

"He literally couldn't speak, he cried, then we hugged, then we cried again," his mother Janis Sharp said, describing the moment she and McKinnon learned of his reprieve.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: "The United States is disappointed by the decision to deny Gary McKinnon's extradition to face long overdue justice in the United States. We are examining the details of the decision."

British prosecutors will now decide if he should face charges in the UK.

PTI