- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 16, 2012

LONDON (AP) - Britain’s Home Secretary is set to rule on whether to extradite a British hacker to America to face charges for breaking into sensitive computer networks at U.S. military and space installations.

U.S. authorities have been seeking Gary McKinnon’s extradition ever since he went on an electronic rampage between 2001 and 2002, carrying off what one prosecutor described at the time as “the biggest hack of military computers ever.”

The 46-year-old, who claims he accessed the computers to hunt for evidence of extraterrestrial life, has been fighting extradition ever since. The case has dragged on for years over questions about his mental health and the fairness of the request.

Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May is expected to announce her decision on McKinnon’s extradition on Tuesday.

The case has drawn the attention of a wide range of celebrities and politicians. Before taking office, Britain’s current Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “far from convinced” extradition was the right course of action. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour has called the U.S. response “heavy handed” while fellow musician Sting described it as a “travesty of human rights.”

McKinnon could face a jail sentence of up to 60 years if convicted in the U.S.