'A timely reminder of the vital role of a free press'
Mum thanks Paul Dacre and journalists Michael Seamark and James Slack
Victory after three years of 'remorseless campaigning and oceans of ink'
The Daily Mail today claimed victory in its three-year-campaign to stop the extradition of 46-year-old Aspergers sufferer Gary McKinnon to the USA for hacking into Pentagon computers.
Home secretary Theresa May halted his extradition on medical grounds after expert testimony that he would kill himself if extradited.
McKinnon's mother Janice Sharp, 63, told a press conference yesterday: "I want to thank Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail, who has stood up for Gary non-stop for years – and [Daily Mail journalists] Michael Seamark and James Slack who have been amazing."
Thanking the media, she said: "Without their support we couldn't have done it."
It is ten years since the US government first tried prosecute McKinnon on hacking charges. The Daily Mail launched its campaign under the front page headline 'An Affront to British Justice' in July 2009, and has consistently covered the case ever since.
McKinnon had hacked US Government computers looking for evidence of UFOs and "little green men", and faced the prospect of up to 60 years in jail if In extradited to the US.
In a leader column today the Daily Mail said: "This paper is fiercely proud of the role played by our An Affront to British Justice campaign in highlight Gary's plight and mobilising support for his right to be tried in a UK court for a crime committed on his own country's soil.
"When spineless ministers in the last government sought to betray him, in their terror of upsetting the US, we reminded them constantly of their responsibility to a vulnerable Briton.
"When box-ticking civil servants and Home Office lawyers advised surrender to Washington, we challenged their judgement.
"When David Cameron and Nick Clegg came to power, we never let them forget their brave words of support for Gary, uttered from the safety of Opposition…
"Now, after three years remorseless campaigning and oceans of ink, a frightened British citizen has at last been granted his birthright – to be tried, if at all, under the laws of his homeland."
With an eye on the impending publication of the Leveson Inquiry report, the leader column concludes: "The case of Gary McKinnon is a timely reminder of the vital role of a free press in holding politicians to account, and giving a voice to the powerless, when nobody else will stand up for our ancient liberties."