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Protest over hacker extradition move

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith "chose to disregard" the impact of a computer hacker's mental health problems when she approved his extradition to the US, an MP said today.

Tory David Burrowes' constituent Gary McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, is accused of hacking into US military networks and could face a US trial after Ms Smith decided to order extradition last October.

His QC Edward Fitzgerald last week told the High Court that Ms Smith had made a "flawed" decision in the light of medical evidence of the severe mental suffering extradition could trigger.

Today Mr Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate) called for a debate on autism in the context of the criminal justice system.

During exchanges on coming Commons business, he said: "My constituent Gary McKinnon, the computer hacker, has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

"Yet the previous Home Secretary has chosen to disregard the impact of his condition and has approved his extradition to the United States."

Commons Leader Harriet Harman said: "I'm sure that all aspects in relation to that individual would have been taken into account when considering an extradition process."