As the UK’s Prime Minister today made headlines flying out to visit President Obama, another case may better explain the “special relationship” Britain has with the United States better than a cursory flight on Air Force One to watch a basketball game.
Richard O’Dwyer, the 23 year old student from Sheffield, has today had his extradition approved by home secretary Theresa May. The Huffington Post UK reports O’Dwyer’s mother, Julia, warning that the extradition approval sets a dangerous precedent for more citizens to find themselves on a plane to the USA to face trial.
She said: “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.”
O’Dwyer is “being sold down the river by the British government,” she said. Julia previously told Peter Walker, a Guardian journalist, that if “they can come for Richard, they can come for anyone”.
O’Dwyer’s servers were outside of the USA, but it looks like Big Content pushed for harsh sentencing regardless. His website, TVShack, did not host any infringing content – it just linked to other websites.
The case mirrors that of Gary McKinnon, who has asperger’s syndrome, and is still under threat of extradition to the United States. His defence team claimed McKinnon was looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life. A US ambassador admitted McKinnon faced extradition because he had “mocked” the USA.