Recently Sheffield Hallam student Richard O’Dwyer lost his court case against extradition to the USA for running a website that provided links to websites where users could illegally pirate copyrighted TV material. He will be lodging an appeal with the High Court and he cannot be extradited without the specific permission of the Home Secretary Theresa May.
Richard’s actions were not a crime in the UK because his website did not host the files but rather hosted links to the websites that did host the files, like Google does. Quite simply, it goes against the terms of the Extradition Treaty if his actions were not a crime in both countries. If extradited, Richard could face 10 years in a federal US prison.
This situation is a clear abuse of the extradition treaty established between the US and the UK and represents an obvious breakdown in justice.
While the appeal and decision of the Home Secretary are ongoing, Sheffield Hallam University Liberal Democrats will campaign for Richard O’Dwyer not to be extradited. The campaign will target Nick Clegg, who is Sheffield Hallam’s MP, for his Cabinet muscle and his previous opposition to the extradition of Gary McKinnon, and Home Secretary Theresa May whose signature is required before Richard can be extradited.
Richard’s mother Julia O’Dwyer had the following to say:
“In order to help prevent the extraditions of Richard O’Dwyer who was last week rubber stamped for extradition to the US as well as those other UK citizens have been accused of ‘crimes’ committed on UK soil never having set foot in the US, the UK government needs to act swiftly to introduce the “Forum Amendment” which is already written and ready to be enacted. If this were agreed by both sides of the House of Commons, it would be up and running within one month. The Forum Amendment was recommended by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in 2011 as part of the Government’s extradition review as well as being debated and the motion carried as a matter of urgency, in Dominic Raab’s debate in Nov 2011. It is endorsed by Liberty, the Human Rights Organisation and many other British campaigners including 100 Lawyers & Barristers who signed a letter to that effect. Pressure needs to be brought upon the Prime Minister & Deputy Prime Minister to keep their pre election promises to the country and make the necessary adjustments. Please send E mails to PM & DPM and to the Home Office please as letters take too long.
The fact that two British citizens were rubber stamped for extradition on the same day is an extreme cause for concern which some could argue warrants an emergency debate in Parliament.
Richard O’Dwyer is under threat of extradition for conduct which the whole IP Legal community are aware is not a crime in the UK and yet is not afforded a hearing by a technically educated Judge in order to dismiss the dual criminality requirement for extradition”
You may also want to contact your local MP about the specific issue of the Forum Amendment.
If you are sending an email, ask for a substantive response rather than a generic paragraph about the state of the extradition system.
Please act to try to stop the unfair extradition of Richard O’Dwyer.
* Rich Clare is president of Sheffield Hallam University Lib Dems and writes on the blog 'A brief history of liberty'. He is standing for England Convenor in the Liberal Youth elections.