Lib Dems fight to halt extradition of Richard O’Dwyer

The Guardian reports:

The government is coming under cross-party pressure from within the coalition to stay the extradition of a Sheffield student who founded a website sharing links to TV shows, and to review the US extradition treaty in the wake of the case.

The home secretary Theresa May signed an extradition order last month for Richard O’Dwyer, 23, to be sent to the US, where he faces 10 years in high-security prison.

O’Dwyer founded a website,, in 2007, which acted as a search engine for people to find out where they could watch and in some cases download popular TV shows, typically programmes not yet available outside America. Some of the links led to legal sources, others to unauthorised sites.

Leading the opposition from the Lib Dems is party president Tim Farron:

Farron said: “While it’s important to protect artists and copyright there is a question about just who is responsible for any breach [in this case] anyway.

“It is ludicrous and the government needs to take a very strong stand on protecting civil liberties.”

He said he hoped his Lib Dem colleagues would bring pressure to bear on Theresa May. “One assumes that until he’s on a plane she has the power to rescind it.”

The piece also quotes Sir Menzies Campbell, who is currently undertaking a review of extradition policy for Nick Clegg:

“One of the ways to test the legitimacy of applications for extradition like this one would be for guidelines to be laid down, probably by the Lord Chief Justice himself, about the degree of connection between a person in the UK and the impact on the US,” he said. “In many states in Americas, the doctrine on extrajudicial jurisdiction is very well developed and should always be a factor to be taken into account in any decision to extradite.”

* Nick Thornsby is a day editor at Lib Dem Voice.

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One Comment

  • Quite right. We shouldn’t be extraditing our citizens to any other country except where it can be shown that the accused committed the offense on their soil. If what he did was a crime here then he should be tried here. If not then he shouldn’t be tried at all.

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