Sheffield Steel

30 March 2012

Author: 
Larry Holmes, Campaigns and Communications Officer

There may have been a few tears as Julia O'Dwyer - mother of Sheffield student Richard - addressed a Liberty crowd to tell her son's nightmare extradition story. However there was also a gritty resolve to make our parliamentarians understand the growing weight of public opinion against British laws that allow instant extradition without evidence, discretion or compassion.

"We're not fighting a crime. We're fighting our own Government" Julia told the audience.

As Liberty's Director of Policy, Isabella Sankey, explained, Richard's case highlights the staggering flaws in our current extradition system.

The young computer studies student built a website in his Sheffield bedroom hosting links - not material, just links - to TV programmes and documentaries. As computing lecturer and internet expert Jessica Zeung said "How many of us have shared a link on facebook or email?"

Now he faces extradition to the US for alleged copyright offences that don't obviously appear to amount to criminal conduct here in the UK.

You're reading this now on your computer or smartphone and you can help change our unfair extradition law simply by emailing your MP. From the audience, David Davis MP reminded everyone that elected politicians do respond to public pressure.  And with the Home Affairs Select Committee's call for urgent reform of our extradition law we might be on the verge of a breakthrough.