Autism charity saddened by McKinnon extradition

An autism charity has condemned the Home Secretary’s decision to extradite Gary McKinnon to the US to face computer hacking charges.

Glasgow-born McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome,is alleged to have caused $700,000 of damage to Pentagon military computers. McKinnon maintains he was simply searching for evidence on UFO sightings.

The Home Secretary Alan Johnson rejected an appeal to block the extradition, saying he saw no reason to believe McKinnon’s human rights would be violated.

But the National Austistic Society has warned the extradition proceedings could excarbate McKinnon’s health problems.

Asperger Syndrome, which is an Austistic Specturm Disorder, is a condition that can affect sufferers’ social and communication skills.

It can also be seen in some sufferers in their restricted and repetitive patterns and interests.

NAS Chief Executive Mark Lever expressed his concerns, saying: “We are bitterly disappointed by the Home Secretary’s decision and feel hugely sympathetic towards Gary and his family who have been living under extreme stress for a prolonged period of time.”

He added: “People with Asperger syndrome are often much more vulnerable than appearances would suggest and can be highly susceptible to additional mental health problems.”