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The other day it was decided that Gary McKinnon would not be extradited to the US to face charges of hacking the Pentagon’s security – on the grounds that he has mental health problems.
Mr McKinnon claims he was a looking for evidence for UFOs and has spent the past decade fighting extradition. Teresa May, the Home Secretary said:
"Mr McKinnon is accused of serious crimes. But there is also no doubt that he is seriously ill.
"He has Asperger's syndrome, and suffers from depressive illness. The legal question before me is now whether the extent of that illness is sufficient to preclude extradition.
"After careful consideration of all of the relevant material, I have concluded that Mr McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon's human rights.”
However, there is the case of Talha Ahsan who has been held in a British prison for the last six years on the request of the US who want to prosecute him for running a pro-Islamist website. There is apparently scant evidence available and Ahsan also has Aspergers. The link to the blog below suggests that when juxtaposed with the McKinnon case that this reflects a double standard with regard to Muslim suspects. On the face of it, if McKinnon has been given a pardon because of his aspergers – why can’t Ahsan? http://hurryupharry.org/2012/10/18/gary-mckinnon-and-talha-ahsan/
In the BBC story American lawyer, David Rivkin, a former White House adviser, said the decision was "laughable", adding, "Under that logic, anybody who claims some kind of physical or mental problem can commit crimes with impunity and get away with it."
But if extradited would either McKinnon or Ahsan expect to receive a fair trial? Their political beliefs are different to the US’s views but does this really make them criminals?