Computer hacker Gary McKinnon is waiting with "anxiety, but hope" that Home Secretary Theresa May will halt his extradition to the United States and uphold promises made in Opposition, his lawyer has said.
McKinnon, who faces trial in the US over hacking into military computers more than 10 years ago, will find out on Tuesday if Mrs May will offer him a last-minute reprieve. He has been fighting against extradition for more than a decade and is waiting "with anxiety, but hope" for the decision, his lawyer, Karen Todner, said.
Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, have previously publicly condemned plans to send McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger syndrome, to the US. There has also been a long-running campaign for McKinnon to be allowed to remain in the UK following warnings from medical experts that he could kill himself if sent to the US to face trial.
Ms Todner said: "It has been a long 11-year battle to fight this extradition and we wait with anxiety, but hope, that the Home Secretary will uphold the promises previously made by Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg. We hope that our elected Government will uphold the promises they made whilst in Opposition and will prevent Mr McKinnon's extradition to America."
Marking the 10th anniversary of his first arrest earlier this year, McKinnon's mother, Janis Sharp, said the treatment of her son, who admits hacking into military computers but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs, has been "barbaric". He is "unable to control the terror that consumes his every waking moment", she said.
McKinnon's legal team hopes Mrs May will block extradition amid predictions that he could be jailed for 60 years in America. Medical evidence shows the 46-year-old is "suffering from a serious mental disorder and there is a serious risk of suicide if extradited", his legal team has said.
McKinnon, from Wood Green, north London, was arrested in 2002, and then again in 2005, before an order for his extradition was made in July 2006 under the 2003 Extradition Act.
If Mrs May decides to allow extradition to go ahead, McKinnon's lawyers are expected to launch a last-ditch application for judicial review to challenge the decision. A provisional hearing date has been set in the High Court for November 28 and 29.
Michael Caplan QC, an extradition specialist at Kingsley Napley LLP, said the extradition arrangements should be changed to enable the UK courts to decide where best to try a case.
"Whatever the Home Secretary's decision tomorrow, in my view there's a clear case for legislative amendment to include a forum test by the courts to determine the fairest jurisdiction for trial," he said.