Friday, 27 November 2009

754 - Gary McKinnon Update

An excellent phone-in on BBC 5Live this morning, after Alan Johnson failed to stand in the way of the extradition to America of Gary McKinnon, illustrating the poverty of thought behind the way the British Judicial System (and politicians, and some members of the public) treat people with mental disorders.

Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi, in Radio 4 Today's Thought For The Day slot, said of justice and charity that in Jewish tradition a word exists with nuances of both. Justice in this sense always includes a flow of compassion from those with power to those without.

Pertinent, given that America and the British Government possess the power in this instance, and Gary's is being withdrawn by them bit by bit.

As for the argument that due legal process should be followed, it occurred to me this morning that whenever a new sense of human rights is taking shape, there are those behind the curve and those who lead. If we are becoming aware of the need to respect people with mental disorders like Asperger's Syndrome, still a new diagnosis, we should expect that aspects of our legislation do remain unenlightened.

To catch someone up into such a system, once we are aware of its failings, is as if the American Union had allowed a former slave to be dragged back across the border to the Confederate States in the American Civil War, and is just plain wrong.

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