Tuesday, 29 November 2011


"If we'd had a vote today we would have carried it"

After 6 years of highlighting the inequity inherent in our extradition legislation, campaigners are delighted that, through Dominic Raab MP’s persistence, a debate has NOW been secured this coming Monday 5th December. Parliament’s Backbench Business Committee have now scheduled a full debate on extradition with a vote to take place in the Main Chamber of the House of Commons at 3pm where all MPs can attend.
Although the motion does not specifically mention Richard’s case by name, it does present a unique opportunity for MPs to attend the debate and vote in favour of changing the law such that it will prevent the extradition of Richard and others facing extradition to the US.

Please Support Richard and  Others Facing Extradition to the US for alleged "crime" or "conduct which has taken place in the UK

  • Please e mail your MP To Find Your MP 
  • Remember to include your full address on your e mail
  • Please see sample letter below which can be personalised as you wish


    It has come to my attention that a debate on reforming our extradition laws to strengthen the protection of British citizens is to take place on Monday 5 December 2011 in the Main Chamber at 3pm.  As your constituent, I am writing to request that you attend this debate and vote in favour of the motion that calls for a reform of the extradition laws in line with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Human Rights 

    The motion is as follows: “That this House calls upon the Government to reform the UK’s extradition arrangements  as a matter of urgency to strengthen the protection of British citizens: by introducing a Bill in Parliament to enact the safeguards recommended by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its Fifteenth Report of 2010-12, and by pursuing such amendments to the UK-US Extradition Treaty 2003 and the EU Council Framework Decision 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant as are necessary in order to give effect to such recommendations.”

    The UK-US Extradition Treaty 2003 is imbalanced and allows British citizens accused of crimes allegedly committed in the UK to be extradited to the US without the US authorities having to demonstrate a prima facie case and without a UK trial being considered as the correct "Forum". A wide range of people from different backgrounds have found themselves ensnared by the Treaty including corporate bankers, terror suspects, alleged computer hackers and most recently a 23yr old University Student, Richard O'Dwyer on a charge of copyright infringement.

    I would like you to speak at the debate and call for any changes in the law to apply to pending cases. It would appear immoral to allow individuals to be extradited under a Treaty which is subsequently agreed by our parliament to be so unfair such that it requires amendment.
    I am aware that Sir Scott Baker recently said at a Lawyers debate on extradition that the government if it wishes to do so can  apply any changes made to the extradition arrangements retrospectively.  In other words there is no reason why pending cases should not benefit from any amendments to the Extradition arrangements.

    In particular, I would like you to mention the case of Richard O’Dwyer, the 23yr old Hallam University Student accused of copyright infringement for making a website which provided links to films elsewhere on the internet. His actual website held no infringing content at all
    There are other pending cases of UK citizens being pursued aggressively by the US over “alleged” crimes committed on UK soil. One of those is the case of Babar Ahmad who has been imprisoned here in the UK for over 7 years without charge after first being brutally assaulted by the UK Police. Babar Ahmads supporters recently  submitted a government e petition with over 141,000 signatures calling for a Trial in the UK rather than being extradited to the US. Gary Mckinnon’s case you should be well aware of, again being sought for “crimes” committed on UK soil and to which Gary has already admitted, along with the case of retired businessman Christopher Tappin again accused of offences occurring on UK soil. Non of the above mentioned are seeking to evade justice they are merely asking that the correct place for any trial be in the UK where they were at all times and where any "alleged offences" took place.

    • The JCHR called for the UK’s extradition laws to be amended to prevent the extradition of UK citizens in circumstances where the domestic authorities had decided not to prosecute them.

    This is a crucial opportunity for Parliament to fix a law with unintended consequences. I am  urging all MPs, particularly those with constituents whose lives have been blighted by the impact of the US/UK Treaty and the European Arrest Warrant, to attend on Monday and demonstrate their support for change. MPs missed their chance in 2006 to get this right.  After 5 more years of injustice, perhaps they won’t make the same mistake again.
    So, for the likes of Richard O’Dwyer, Gary McKinnon, Christopher Tappin, Babar Ahmad and potentially countless others  unless the current system is rectified, MPs must grab this golden opportunity now.

    In Richard O’Dwyer’s case the DPP has already stated that “the matter was not and still is not considered to be in the category of serious”. Extradition in this case is total disproportionate to the “crime” and it is beyond belief that the UK would allow extradition to take place for what has been described as not serious.
    I urge you, as my elected voice in parliament, to attend this important debate and vote in favour of changing the extradition laws such that they offer greater protection to British citizens such as Richard, Gary, Chris and Babar. 

    Please respond to me with a copy of any correspondence or representations that you make regarding this matter.
    Yours sincerely,

    (Insert Name & Address) 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Extradition Lawyers Debate with Review Panel on the Eve of Westminster Hall Debate

A small group of us affected in some way by extradition from the UK to the US attended this educational event on 23rd November.We expected this would bring us an opportunity to ask questions of the Review Panel as well as inform us more about the rationale for the Review conclusions. Present were Melanie Riley from Bell Yard Communications, David Bermingham who was extradited himself to the US several years ago, Amna, sister of Babar Ahmad, myself and Chris Tappin and his wife, Chris is also fighting extradition to the US. Richard's own barrister Ben Cooper was there, Ben is also barrister for Babar, Chris and Gary Mckinnon.

David, Amna and Chris were able to ask questions of the Panel and not always received satisfactory answers. The review team clearly had no intention of considering the Human cost of extradition and even though Anand Doonay said that extradition should be the last resort rather than the first consideration -This was not put  in the Review!
A notable comment during this public event from Sir Scott Baker was that the UK Government when making any amendments to the current extradition act could apply those changes retrospectively if they wished to do so.

Whilst mingling with the other people in attendance who were mostly lawyers and barristers it became even more apparent that many lawyers and barristers are unaware of the impact that the threat of extradition has on a victim and his family. Needless to say we took every opportunity to make them aware of this

Extradition in the News

There's a lot going on this week. Janis Sharp, Gary Mckinnon's mother who has fought tirelessly for her son's Human Rights as the battle to avoid extradition to the US continues has won Liberty Human Rights "Closer to Home" award

The Free BabarAhmad Campaign achieved well over 140,000 signatures on its UK government e petition, despite that Parliament is refusing  House of Commons debate on this issue for Babar Ahmad instead choosing to combine it with an already planned meeting in Westminster Hall on 24th November

Babar Ahmad Petition Success Debate

22nd November- Westminster Magistrates Court, Extradition Hearing

The day didn't get off to a good start at all! The previous evening 18.30 we received documents for submission to court the following morning. These should have been submitted for the last hearing and then not to be any later than 18th November. To say I was livid would be about right, this left us no time to scrutinise the documents or to formulate a response in time for court. We were planning to leave home at 5 am in the morning to travel to London by train. The stress of all that meant no sleep that night.
I outlined my views in a strongly worded e mail to the lawyer and Barrister just for the record!
Once at Westminster Magistrates Court and after speaking to some familiar journalists we went in to meet up with Ben Cooper, Richard's Barrister. After some discussion and liaison with the Barrister for the US, he agreed not to admit his late statement on the extradition offence. Once in court the judge then agreed not to re-open the arguments on extradition offence and dual criminality. Ben Cooper was pleased with this since even though Richard had amended his statement and provided new information Ben felt where we had left that argument last time was in a good position.

This hearing then concentrated on Human Rights and proportionality. Judgement will now be reserved until January 13th 2012 when we will learn whether the argument on "linking" has been successful.Here are some press links from this hearing.

BBC News
Sky News
Indy News
Please sign this petition help get these numbers up-Thank you

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Gearing Up For The Fight

2nd November 2011

This was the first of the proper extradition hearings. The purpose of this hearing was for the Barrister Ben Cooper to argue on points of law against Dual criminality. That is that Richard's conduct did not constitute a crime in the UK. If successful this would mean that Richard cannot be extradited. In order for a person to be extradited from the UK to the US the alleged conduct must be a crime in the UK.

The hearing went well once it got going with Judge Purdy and the Prosecuting Barrister for the US  John Jones also conceding that Ben Cooper had a strong argument. Ben Cooper argued that the website was almost identical in how it operated to the TV-Links website in that both sites only provided links to movies and did not actually hold films on their own websites. Richard had made some challenges as to the accuracy of some of the Skeleton argument for the Prosecution and so for this reason the issues will be continued on the 22nd November along with issues such as Human Rights! That is one big laugh though as in extradition cases the victims do not have their Human Rights considered

Just for fun here's a "link" to a movie freely available on't tinternet via Google search

First Orbit The Movie

Court Appearance 9th September 2011

Once more  this court attendance was to deal with administration, agree future dates for receipt of Skeleton arguments from both sides. Ben Cooper was able to negotiate with the Judge that the first hearing would be solely dedicated to dealing with the extradition offence and dual criminality. The court was busy with people being "processed" through European Arrest Warrants (EAW) from Eastern europe as a result our court room was changed to a quieter one and as it turned out a more "reasonable" Judge.

It was quiet outside the Court as the press were still sitting in the wrong court room!

Court Again-Meeting our Barrister for the First Time -Ben Cooper!

Sky New with14th June 2011  Richard and I travelled down to London the night before the court appearance staying at my sister's in Teddington. Since last time I had researched tirelessly on the internet but what I have found out does not make pleasant reading.In a nutshell Extradition to the US is impossible to fight! Unless that is you have an extremely serious medical condition and I mean "serious" you'd have to be nearly dead!
Through trawling the internet I came across Bell-Yard Communications company London based who appeared to have an interest in UK to US extradition cases and had assisted others in this position. Before we left to go to the Court I rang their number and left a message. Very quickly I had a call from Melanie Riley who quickly gave me some advice about any media presence in terms of what to say etc.
We travelled over to the City of Westminster Magistrates Court where we had arranged to meet Richard's sister who was travelling down from Leeds.Before this hearing date I had been searching on the internet to find a Barrister experienced in extradition matters. I made a couple of possible selections and instructed Richard's Solicitor from Howell's in Sheffield to try to secure the services of one of these two. Luckily Ben Cooper who was my preferred choice was available and was keen to take Richard's case. Ben explained that in court that day would be mainly administrative matters and the setting of dates for future hearings.
Afterwards a lovely sunny afternoon in London had lunch with my sister, spoke to David Bermingham and Melanie Riley, such lovely people with so much good advice and support for us about this extradition nightmare. Melanie gave us good advice on what to say to the media. Richard wouldn't be allowed to give interviews and so this was going to be left down to me.

Lots of press reporting and media interest was to follow.  


Media Support for Richard's Case

After an initial trepidation about engaging with the media having never come into contact with them before I have to say they have been brilliant. Interested in getting Richard's story covered and publicised, kind, considerate and supportive. I have also to thank the media for  highlighting legislation and other cases within their reporting. This information Richard's legal team are now using in fighting his case so many thanks to all involved and thank you for your continuing coverage of our situation.

Here are a some of the many press links:

Telegraph reporting
Daily Mail Story
Telegraph reporting with comment from David Cook Copyright Expert

Guardian with comments from Mr Erik Barnett ICE
Arstechnica report by Tim Lee

Russia Today with Keith Vaz on video

How to Help Richard - Victim of the UK/US Extradition Treaty

Richard's  petition asking for a UK Trial:

E Petition asking for a UK Trial for Richard

E Mail or write to your MP

 You can e mail or write to your MP about Richards case, highlighting our imbalanced extradition laws and the injustice in using extradition to deal with an "alleged"  crime already described as "non serious" by our own DPP

Government e petition on Extradition Reform AGAIN!!

Supporters of Babar Ahmad managed in a very short space of time to get over 140,000 signatures on their UK Government e petition. This was no mean feat and yet the Parliamentary Backbench Committee has decided not to allow a Parliamentary debate of this petition in the House of  Commons. And so we start all over again with a new petition to help all victims of these Rotten extradition laws. Please sign again your support is much appreciated.

All the Info on Babar Ahmad 

Thank you for your support

Our Support Network

 Family and friends support us as best they can. But how do you support someone in this position? The situation occurs so rarely, no one knows about it, how does it feel, what happens, how does it affect you etc. etc. And so people feel helpless in trying to support victims of extradition but they do their best.  Driven to the internet funnily enough the root of the problem! The Internet is how I found Janis Sharp mother of Gary McKinnon who has endured 10 years of mental torture whilst fighting extradition to the US in a highly political case. I found David Bermingham via the internet and Melanie Riley both invaluable sources of information and support. I found Ben Cooper our Barrister via the internet. I contacted Liberty Human Rights organistation who are now behind the campaign to help Richard. Liberty have been fighting the current extradition laws for many years.