The Daily Mail reports on the meeting of Gary McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wife Sarah Brown.
By Michael Seamark and James Slack
Last updated at 1:46 AM on 04th July 2009
Face to face in Downing Street, two women wept yesterday over the plight of an autistic man threatened with life in a U.S. jail.
Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister's wife, pledged her support to Gary McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp.
It was a huge boost to the Daily Mail's campaign to halt Gary's extradition on cyber-terrorism charges. And last night both David Cameron and Nick Clegg also gave it their backing.
Mrs Brown had written to Mrs Sharp saying: 'As a mother, I feel every sympathy for your strong feelings and admire enormously your dedication, courage and strength of maternal love in seeking to protect Gary.'
Yesterday they met and 60-year-old Mrs Sharp handed over a 4,000-name petition, arranged by the National Autistic Society, seeking protection for Gary and those like him.
Both women became tearful as Mrs Sharp described the traumatic battle to keep her vulnerable son, who has Asperger's Syndrome and is obsessed with UFOs, from forcibly being taken across the Atlantic to stand trial for hacking into Pentagon and NASA computers.
'I told her what it does to you,' she said. 'I told her it was with us every second, a seven-year sentence of fear, and she filled up with tears and I filled up with tears.
'She was very moved and was incredibly sympathetic. She is a lovely, genuine person who clearly cares about people. I think it was incredibly brave of her to meet us. It was very heartening.'
Gary's mother also asked Mrs Brown to pass on a personal plea to Michelle Obama, begging the President's wife to ask her husband to cancel the extradition request.
Mrs Sharp said her son had been 'incredibly lifted' by the Daily Mail campaign and that Mrs Brown had referred to it.
'She asked if I had seen the papers and what did I think of that? I told her it was brilliant. She told me to keep on with the campaign if we want to be heard here and across the pond.'
The 30-minute meeting between the two mothers was also attended by Trudie Styler, wife of the musician Sting, who initiated contact between Mrs Brown and Mrs Sharp.
In her letter to Mrs Sharp, Mrs Brown said 'that there are a number of people at Downing Street who are committed to following the case and providing what assistance they can'.
However Government sources said last night that while the Prime Minister 'understood the family's concerns', it would be 'difficult to intervene in the legal process'.
At the Downing Street meeting Mrs Brown was accompanied by two advisers. 'She greeted me with a kiss on both cheeks and she was very moved by what I had to say,' said Mrs Sharp.
'She basically said it is up to the courts, the legal way. I told her the extradition treaty should be for terrorists and the Americans were abusing the treaty.
'I told her how I had fostered children and turned their lives around and now I had to fight for my only son. She took it all on board.'
The article also quotes some of the celebrities and politicians who have expressed support for Gary McKinnon, including:
- Trudie Styler - Actress, Producer and wife of Musician Sting
- Sting (Gordon Sumner CBE) - Musician
- David Gilmour CBE - Pink Floyd Musician
- Julie Christie - Actress
- Peter Gabriel - Musician
- Keith Duffy - SInger and Actor
- Emma Noble - Model and TV Presenter
- Rt. .Hon. David Cameron MP - Conservative Leader
- Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg MP - Liberal Democrat Leader
- Rt. Hon. Charles Kennedy MP - former Liberal Democrat Leader
- Rt. .Hon. Sir Menzies Campbell CBE QC MP - former Liberal Democrat Leader
- Rt. Hon. David Blunkett MP - former Labour Home Secretary
- Boris Johnson - Conservative Mayor of London
- Kate Hoey - Labour MP
- Rt. Hon. Tony Benn - former Labour MP and Minister
- Terry Waite CBE - Human Rights Campaigner
- Shami Chakrabarti - Director of Liberty Human Rights