Alan Johnson to be questioned by MPs over McKinnon

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A cross-party committee wants to know why hacker Gary McKinnon faces extradition.

A parlimentary committee is to publicly question Home Secretary Alan Johnson about the extradition treaty with the US that could see hacker Gary McKinnon face an American court.

According to a report in the Telegraph, the Home Affairs select committee wants to understand how the treaty between the UK and the US is used, and whether or not Johnson should be given the power to ask for trials to be held in the UK – something McKinnon’s supporters have been asking for.

McKinnon admits hacking into NASA and Pentagon computers, but has argued he did no harm. Since the incidents, the North Londoner has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, leading his mother and other supporters to say he would suffer too much in an American jail.

Telegraph sources said Johnson would be at the committee meeting to give evidence, as would members of McKinnon’s family.

Committee chairman MP Keith Vaz said: “The case of Gary McKinnon highlights the difficulties in the current extradition relationship between the UK and the US. It is clear that the US got a better deal from the Extradition Treaty.”

“The treaty needs to allow ministerial discretion in exceptional circumstances such as the case of Gary McKinnon,” he told the paper.

McKinnon’s extradition is currently on hold while the government examines new medical evidence in the case, after being denied a request to take his case to the Supreme Court.

Click here for a timeline of the Gary McKinnon saga.