by Penny Dreadfull
16 October 2012
Thank you, Theresa May MP, for finally blocking the extradition of Gary McKinnon, alleged computer hacker. This, of course, is the best news that those of us whom have been tweeting for Gary’s freedom could have today, yet, there is always a fly in the ointment.
Douglas McNabb, a federal criminal defence lawyer from Houston, Texas, US was just interviewed on BBC news saying that “the US has been attempting to procure Gary McKinnon’s body for 10 years” and, that they would be “inflamed” with the news of his blocked extradition. McNabb went on to say that a “red notice” could be sent to 193 countries around the world and Gary McKinnon could be arrested if he traveled to one of those countries and would be extradited to US. Essentially, now, Gary must stay in the UK for the rest of his life.
For me, it would be a small price to pay, as I could be quite happy to see out my days in England. However, Gary McKinnon is a relatively young man and still probably has places he would love to see in the world. Yet, I am sure that he will just be thankful to be able to stay right where he is, with his friends, mother, and cat, knowing that he won’t be spending the rest of his life in a US SuperMax prison.
But, let us leave the dark bits out now and move on, for this is a day of thanksgiving and happiness, especially for Janis Sharp and Gary McKinnon. Today on BBC News at approximately 15:56 pm in Central London, Janis Sharp and her elite team including Karen Todner, Edward Fitzgerald QC, Ben Cooper, David Burrowes MP, and Mark Lever (National Autism Society), to name a few, went public with a news conference to give thanks to Theresa May MP for her “brave decision to block Gary’s extradition” and “always knew she had the strength” to stand up to the US, also “thanks to the Human Rights Act of 1998, this would not have been possible”. David Burrowes MP stated that “Gary was a unique and exceptional human being who needs to be given back his life” and that “it must never happen again to another UK citizen” as well as “a great day for compassion and common sense”.
After the official news conference, a tearfully happy mother, Janis, stated that “It’s been an emotional roller coaster” that she is “overwhelming happy”. She then went on to once again thank her entire time of defence lawyers, family, friends, David Gilmore, Bob Geldorf and others for, without their “people power we couldn’t have done this” and “we’ve won for the little people”. Janis also went on to describe the state of Gary’s well-being after the happy news saying that “Gary literally couldn’t speak” that they hugged and cried and hugged and cried some more, but most heart-warmingly of all is that “Gary smiled for the first time in 10 years”.
Touching again on Gary’s Aspergers Syndrome, Janis said that Gary had felt like a dead person all this past time and that he now feel alive again, also saying that it’s not just due to Aspergers Syndrome, but that Gary would have prefered to be dead than to be sent away to the US where he would not have known anyone, nor would have had the ability to have any friends or family there to see him through the ordeal. Logically, Janis says, he would have taken his own life rather than to leave all he’s ever known. You could see the pragmatic side of Janis Sharp show through at that time. She would never want her son to die, but would certainly understand if he had been sent to the US. Her strength amazes me.
Further remarks on how badly affected Gary has been over the last ten years, Janis told of a how a young 35 year old man had once enjoyed music, but had not picked up an instrument in all this time, yet today as a 46 year old man he has smiled for the first time in years. As a mother, I can well imagine it was as dear a feeling to Janis Sharp as the first time she ever saw Gary smile as a child. Perhaps more so.
Janis Sharp is an amazing, strong, pragmatic, loving, and patient woman. During all the time she has doggedly gone after politicians and newspapers to help her in her fight for her son’s freedom, she has never neglected others in the same position. She has fought for all British citizens on the brink of extradition. She’s marched on Downing Street, appeared on television, and more, speaking out repeatedly against the unfair Extradition Treaty that nearly got her son sent to the US and has gotten Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan extradited. Janis Sharp has campaigned for justice for everyone and “always believed it would come to this”. And, she won’t stop now.
Before I end this, Janis also gave thanks to “the people on Twitter, who have been amazing – sending emails and letters to Gary, giving them both support. The power of so many good people has been amazing”. A collective “You’re welcome, Janis” comes from us all. Congratulations to you and Gary!