Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Fury as student extradition cleared

The Home Secretary has approved the extradition of Richard O'Dwyer to the US

A student accused of infringing copyright laws is being "sold down the river" by the Government, his mother said as the Home Secretary approved his extradition.

Sheffield Hallam University undergraduate Richard O'Dwyer, 23, allegedly earned thousands of pounds through advertising on the TVShack website before it was closed down by authorities in the United States.

Just hours before Prime Minister David Cameron arrives in the US for talks with President Barack Obama, his mother Julia warned the US was coming for the young, the old and the ill, "and our Government is paving the way".

Mrs O'Dwyer, of Chesterfield, was told Home Secretary Theresa May had signed the order authorising her son's extradition two months after a district judge said the allegations justified a trial in the US.

It follows a series of high-profile extradition cases, the latest of which saw retired British businessman Christopher Tappin, 65, of Orpington, Kent, extradited to the US last month to spend 23 hours a day alone in his cell awaiting trial over arms dealing charges.

And it comes 10 years after the US first asked for Asperger's sufferer Gary McKinnon to be extradited over charges he hacked in to military computers in 2002. McKinnon, who says he was looking for evidence of UFOs, is still awaiting the Home Secretary's decision.

Mrs O'Dwyer said: "Today, yet another British citizen is being sold down the river by the British Government. Richard's life - his studies, work opportunities, financial security - is being disrupted, for who knows how long, because the UK Government has not introduced the much needed changes to the extradition law."

She said the so-called Natwest Three "were right when they said if it could happen to them, it could happen to anyone".

Bankers Gary Mulgrew, Giles Darby and David Bermingham fought and lost a four-year battle against extradition to the US over allegations of conspiring with former Enron executives to dupe the bank out of 20 million US dollars (£12.7 million). The men later admitted one charge of wire fraud and were sentenced to 37 months in jail.

Mrs O'Dwyer went on: "The US is coming for the young (Richard), the old (Chris Tappin) and the ill (Gary McKinnon) and our Government is paving the way. By rights, it should make for an interesting conversation between the Obamas and Camerons aboard Air Force One - but I'm not holding my breath."

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