Liberal Democrat News 19 October 2012

October 19, 2012 3:21 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Delight at McKinnon decision

Theresa May's announcement that Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to the United States has delighted Liberal Democrat campaigners across the country. The Home Secretary said the case had been decided on the human rights issue alone - not something that must have been easy for a Conservative Minister to disclose.

Immediately after the announcement, Nick Clegg emailed Liberal Democrat members: "In opposition, we were unequivocal: Gary McKinnon should not be extradited. I said at the time that he was too vulnerable to be uprooted from his friends and family and sent across the Atlantic, and if there was a case to answer it should be here in the UK. So today I am absolutely delighted by the Home Secretary's decision to withdraw his extradition order.

"I want to congratulate Gary and his mother Janis on their deserved victory. They have campaigned tirelessly and I pay tribute to their strength and determination.

"But there was another significant moment as well: the Coalition Government has announced that we will seek to amend the US-UK extradition process to make it fairer in future.

"We're adding a so-called 'forum bar' which will mean that British courts can decide to block a request for extradition if it is in the interests of justice to try the case here. This will increase the overall transparency of our extradition arrangements and will better balance the safeguards for defendants.

"We will let you know more detail in due course on this announcement because today is about Gary. Today is a day for celebrating."
Cambridge MP Julian Huppert also welcomed the Home Secretary's decision.

"Mr McKinnon's case is not clear cut," he said. "He is clearly unwell and needs to be treated with compassion. He has suffered 10 years of torment and I hope now he can start to get the help he so clearly needs."

Julian has been fighting the extradition warrant against Gary McKinnon, and has been in regular contact with his mother, Janis Sharp and joined her at 10 Downing Street in February to mark 10 years since his arrest in 2002.

He has also been fighting McKinnon's case through the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee and it featured prominently in the recent inquiry into UK-US Extradition Treaty. Julian congratulated Home Secretary Theresa May in the House of Commons for taking the correct decision at long last. He said later: "This is an historic decision which I hope will lead the way for change."