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Scottish hacker Gary McKinnon will not face charges in the UK

The saga of Gary McKinnon has finally come to an end. After a 10 year-long legal battle, the glaswegian hacker accused of orchestrating what US authorities have described as the "biggest military computer hack of all time" has just been told by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer that he will not face charges in the UK.

Few weeks ago, UK Home Secretary Theresa May successfully blocked McKinnon's extradition to the United States, where they wanted to charge him for hacking in 2002 into almost 100 military and NASA computers, allegedly causing a damage of an estimated £500,000. If convicted, he would have had to stay behind bars for up to 60 years, which has always seemed a bit harsh considering he's suffering from Asperger's Syndrome and that he had naively hacked into the computers because he wanted to find evidence of the existence of UFOs.

British authorities chose not to extradite him to the US after a medical assessments confirmed that he was very likely to commit suicide if forced to go there. They have now decided not to pursue the matter further here in the UK because it would be too expensive to move the trial this side of the Atlantic, as Mr Starmer explains:

"The potential difficulties in bringing a case in England and Wales now should not be underestimated, not least the passage of time, the logistics of transferring sensitive evidence prepared for a court in the US to London for trial, the participation of US government witnesses in the trial and the need fully to comply with the duties of disclosure imposed on the CPS. [...] The prospects of a conviction against Mr McKinnon which reflects the full extent of his alleged criminality are not high."

Janis Sharp, Gary MacKinnon's mother, also commented: "I'm very pleased and glad Gary's not going to have to go through another long term of trauma. I would love more than anything now for Mr Obama to give Gary a Christmas pardon. Gary admitted to the intrusion, he always denied the damage. I feel the 10 years have been gruelling, it's been life-destroying. It's difficult to explain how bad it's been.

To have this over is amazing. Gary's gone through enough. Other people have been accused of more serious hacking in this country and they've been given a £1,000 fine and a very short community sentence. Gary regrets what he's done. He wishes he hadn't done it. He wishes he hadn't upset the Americans. We all regret it. But I'm grateful to Theresa May that this is all over now."

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