Hacker given more time to fight extradition

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Computer hacker Gary McKinnon has been given more time to fight his extradition to the United States, it emerged today.

His solicitors have made new representations which are being considered, the Home Office said.

On October 9, the High Court refused Mr McKinnon permission to appeal to the new Supreme Court against his pending removal to America to face charges of breaking into the Pentagon's military networks.

His lawyers are known to be considering an application to the European Court of Human Rights.

A Home Office spokesman said today that after the High Court decision, Home Secretary Alan Johnson agreed to take no further steps towards surrender for 14 more days.

This was to enable Mr McKinnon's legal representatives to approach the court in Strasbourg for the application of 'interim measures' - in simple terms, a ruling that extradition is put on hold pending the outcome of the full application.

A spokesman added: "On October 12 his solicitors submitted further representations to the Home Secretary and we are considering what response to give to this latest material.

"In the meantime, we have confirmed to his solicitors that we do not consider the 14 days for a Strasbourg application as running."

Today's Daily Mail said the lawyers had submitted a 60-page medical report containing new evidence about the state of Mr McKinnon's psychiatric health.

The 43-year-old, from Wood Green, north London, suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, and says his hacking was aimed at nothing more than searching for reports of UFO sightings.

Mr McKinnon's supporters want him to be put on trial in the UK on charges of computer misuse, which would allow him to avoid extradition.