Gary McKinnon faces the latest in a long series of court hearings on 25 and 26 May – three weeks after the UK general election. Protest activity in different forms continues across the United Kingdom in support of Gary.
Gary has Asperger’s syndrome – and he faces extradition to the US after admitting to hacking into the Pentagon and NASA computer systems from his laptop in his girlfriend’s flat. Gary readily admits the allegations – but claims he was looking for evidence of an official cover-up of the existence of UFOs. If convicted in the USA, Gary would face up to 70 years in prison – and his doctors fear a very high risk of suicide should this happen.
Gary’s mother Janis Sharp is standing for Parliament as an independent candidate against Jack Straw in the UK’s upcoming general election on the basis that Straw was foreign secretary at the time the controversial Extradition Act was passed which paved the way for Gary’s extradition.
Straw holds an 8,000 majority in his Blackburn constituency, which Labour has held since the 1950s. While there seems no chance Janis Sharp will win, she is standing because “it’s important to stand against erosion of civil liberties”.
Back in April 2007 in an interview with Stephen Emms of The Observer, Gary is quoted as saying “Be very scared of a mother protecting her child. After my arrest my mum turned into Superwoman, lobbying MPs, writing letters. She’s disgusted by the fact that you can be handed over on a plate to a foreign government.”
Also, supporters of Gary’s legal struggle against extradition will be releasing 99 Red Balloons on Westminster Bridge outside the UK Houses of Parliament in London on 3 May – the May Day holiday.
This protest is inspired by the lyrics to the song 99 Luftballons / 99 red Ballons by Nena which portray Cold War trigger happy military over-reaction to a harmless event.