Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 13:41 UK

Hacker wins US extradition delay

Gary McKinnon
Gary McKinnon could face a long prison sentence

A Briton accused of hacking into secret military computers has won a two-week stay on his extradition to the US.

Glasgow-born Gary McKinnon won a stay until 28 August at the European Court of Human Rights after losing an appeal at the House of Lords last month.

The unemployed man could face life in jail if convicted of accessing 97 US military and Nasa computers.

The 42-year-old admitted breaking into the computers from his London home but said he sought information on UFOs.

A brief statement by his solicitors announced said he has been granted "interim relief" until that date "for his application to be heard before the full chamber".

Mr McKinnon, 42, first lost his case at the High Court in 2006 before taking it to the highest court in the UK, the House of Lords.

He was arrested in 2002 but never charged in the UK.

The US government claims he committed a malicious crime - the biggest military computer hack ever.

Computer nerd

The authorities have warned that without his co-operation and a guilty plea the case could be treated as terrorism and he could face a long jail sentence.

The former systems analyst, is accused of hacking into the computers with the intention of intimidating the US government.

It alleges that between February 2001 and March 2002, he hacked into dozens of US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Defense computers, as well as 16 Nasa computers.

Prosecutors say he altered and deleted files at a naval air station not long after the 11 September attacks in 2001, rendering critical systems inoperable.

However, Mr McKinnon has said he is merely a computer nerd, whose motives were harmless and innocent. He denies any attempts at sabotage.

He said he wanted to find evidence of UFOs he thought was being held by the US authorities, and to expose what he believed was a cover-up.


SEE ALSO
Profile: Gary McKinnon
30 Jul 08 |  Technology
McKinnon's extradition condemned
07 Jul 06 |  Technology
Hacker fears 'UFO cover-up'
05 May 06 |  Click


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