Friday, 30 December 2011

2012 is Nearly Upon Us & The Fight is Not Nearly Over Yet

January looks like being a busy month, on the 10th there is a meeting of the Select Committee chaired by Keith Vaz. Among others David Bermingham a victim himself of the current unbalanced extradition treaty who was extradited to the US in 2006 as one of the Nat West 3 has been called to give evidence to the committee. Whilst the Scott Baker review team were clearly not interested in any views the "victims" of extradition might have, preferring instead to travel across the world to seek US opinion at least Keith Vaz's Committee are interested.  Update to follow on this on the 10th January.

Richard is due to receive  the Judgement on his case on the 13th January, of particular importance will be  Judge Purdy's decision on the extradition offence and whether our Barristers argument that "linking" does not constitute copyright infringement and is therefore not a crime in the UK. If this argument is won there will be no extradition.

In the meantime I have requested two Freedom of Information requests from the Home Office both due to be received in January. I anticipate that these will both highlight further inequities in the UK/US treaty and I will forward these to Keith Vaz on receipt.

Still outstanding is the response from the Home Secretary on the Governments intentions with regard to the extradition treaty, Nick Cleggs review of the current extradition treaty being led by Sir Menzies Campbell.

Most importantly the Home Secretary's decision on Gary Mckinnon is awaited. Gary and his family have had this atrocious and despicable threat of extradition hanging over them for far too long. It is time this government did the right thing and remember according to the US Ambassador they are only pursuing Gary because he "mocked" them.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas, A Happy & Better New Year & Thank You

 Is this copyrighted? I don't give a damn at this point got it off YouTube

This is for my twitter followers who have supported  and helped #RichardO and myself over the last horrendous few months,put up with and RT'd my rants and many who have sent me useful info.  

Special mentions to Janis, Gary & family, Claire, Paul,Cliff,Mike,Melanie,Loz,Glyn,Jessica,Deborah,Andy & Tim for your own individual help in different ways.

Merry Xmas to all my followers sorry my tweets are a bit limited on subject matter but needs must.

Twitter love to you all


Monday, 19 December 2011


"This boy should be free absolutely no doubt about it. It is RIDICULOUS to try and extradite someone for simply letting people share links on his site, that FOR ONE is not illegal. And TWO - the fact the the US goverment can't get to grips with the fact that THEY CANNOT control the internet - it is open source. They should not take their issues with the modern world and technology out on an innocent normal young open hearted boy. This is the modern world - DEAL WITH IT. Leave him alone!!!

Some common sense from our parliament on this please."

"The extradition treaty is one-sided & mal-formed. An extradition would impede justice. Justice for Richard!"

 "Look into the facts of the case and you will hopefully realise that the case for extradition is meaningless and ICE is just looking for a new scapegoat to satisfy the MPAA."

"Stop this absolute bullshit. He is a UK citizen operating a website with LINKS to other sites. He has committed no crimes. Sending him to the USA is the only crime here."

"An EU citizen should not be made subject to American law simply by being on the internet. If acts take place within the UK, they should be subject to UK law only".

"It is unbelievable that a UK citizen could be extradited for committing a crime by another countries laws within the UK!"

"Stop him from being extradited and bring some normality back to the legal system!"

"The extradition of a young man purely to feed the endless greedy desires of private corporate entities in the US cannot be allowed to proceed. The majority of right-thinking people already recognise that 'contributory copyright infringement' is a nonsense offence which cannot be truly quantified. If simply by linking to other websites who are hosting infringing content is an offence then every single search engine is also guilty. Where do we draw the line? It is unenforceable - end this madness."

"This is outrageous, that the UK would just give away their citizens like that? Where is your pride England? God Save the queen? I would say "God save the people".

"The US is the US and the UK is the UK. They are completely separate countries separated by an ocean and by completely different legal system. The US has no business whatsoever trying another country's citizens when he never so much as crossed a border or even for-profit business. Extraditing him is the equivalent of forcing someone to pay for a bill to a restaurant he never went to."

Saturday, 17 December 2011


Richard O’Dwyer – The Wider Implications.

There is deep concern about the broader implications of the Richard O’Dwyer Extradition case and how it could lead to the US government controlling the activities and flow of information on the World Wide Web.  Please read the following information and look further into this matter in order that the members of both Houses can be made fully aware of how allowing this case to be tried in the US is not only a breach of Richard’s human rights but it also opens the floodgates for any user of the Internet in the UK to fall under the jurisdiction of US law and face extradition.

The US defence in this case is that Richard has allowed a crime to be committed by providing the targeted “linking” on the site, that many of the adverts on the site were aimed at the US market, and that Richard had used a .net domain to register his site, which has to be registered via the US domain registration organisation, therefore purportedly falling under US jurisdiction. 

Richard did not store any illegal material on his website server, which was based in the UK, nor did he encourage anyone to use his site or condone the downloading of illegal material.   The links work very much like any search engine, such as Google, returning the top results based on most popular links clicked.  Nevertheless, as the current extradition treaty with the US does not allow forum, therefore not allowing the case to be assessed for trial in this country, he now finds himself facing up to 10 years in a foreign prison that is showing increasing disregard for human rights, where he wouldn’t even be able to benefit from the support of his family and friends.

The same fate could, theoretically if a precedent is set, await over a quarter of our young people who could face direct US copyright infringement charge; this is reportedly the largest  demographic  of Internet users who admit to having “illegally” downloaded or shared a movie or music and every single one of them could face a US prison sentence or end up paying financial penalties to US companies.  

Given the alleged nature of the crime, this request is a flagrant abuse of the original intention of the Extradition Treaty, which was to help simplify the process of the extradition of suspected terrorists; even the broadest of imaginations could not relate “linking” to a terrorist act.  This confirms that any form of control that provides broad sweeping powers to the US government will be abused, and any precedents set will not be isolated cases.  In light of that, the above hypothetical scenario does not seem so far-fetched or so far away in the future.

Two recent bills passed by the US Senate and Congress threaten to stifle the free flow of information on the Internet and place the US as the World’s judge and jury on what is copyright and what constitutes an infringement.

The Protect IP Act, was introduced to the US Senate in May 2011, coincidentally shortly after the decision to seek an Extradition warrant for Richard O’Dwyer.  Its stated goal is of giving the US government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to "rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods" and provides for enhanced “enforcement against rogue websites operated and registered overseas”.    It was passed in the Senate but Senator Ron Wyden placed a hold on it stating concerns over possible damage to freedom of speech, innovation, and Internet integrity, a fear mirrored by organisations such as Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch.  Opposition to the bill has also been met by many of the US global technology giants who, in a letter to Congress signed by 130 technology entrepreneurs and CEOs, amongst them Google, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Twitter, expressed great concern that the law in its present form would "hurt economic growth and chill innovation in legitimate services that help people create, communicate, and make money online”.  Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt likened the proposed bill to the censorship framework used in China and fears the US could be heading for its own “Great Firewall” and the separation globally of the Internet into highly monitored and centrally censored “Intranets”.

An even more recent sister bill to the Protect IP Act, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), was introduced to the US Congress on 16th November 2011.  It builds on the proposals of the Protect IP Act and calls for streaming of illegal content to be a felony act.   The bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to seek court orders against websites outside U.S. jurisdiction accused of infringing on copyrights of US businesses, or of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.   Gary Shapiro, the CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association said it "attempts a radical restructuring of the laws governing the Internet" and that "it would undo the legal safe harbors that have allowed a world-leading Internet industry to flourish over the last decade [and] would expose legitimate American businesses and innovators to broad and open-ended liability.”

The definitions written in the bill are so broad that any US consumer who uses a website overseas immediately gives the US jurisdiction the power to potentially take action against it, which puts at serious risk any UK business with US traffic.  The language of SOPA is so broad, the rules so unconnected to the reality of Internet technology and the penalties so disconnected from the alleged crimes that this bill could effectively kill e-commerce or even normal Internet use. The bill also has grave implications for foreign relations and international laws and is sure to cost countries decades in court challenges; in these days of severe austerity that is something we all wish to avoid.  It would mean the end of open-source software projects and freeware sharing and would create a huge increase in the use of identity-masking solutions, such as proxy servers.

It is suggested that Richard O’Dwyer is being used as a test case for the US to gauge how easily foreign nations such as the UK would be willing to give up its citizens to comply with a law that is undeniably highly stacked in the favour of large corporate (US) monopolies, and leaves the world wide open to excessive application or abuse of these laws from future malignant US leaders.  

Richard faces a maximum of 10 years in a US prison for “linking”, something that has previously been successfully argued to not be a crime in the UK.   If we allow him to become the guinea pig for the US censorship bills we are paving the way for many many more cases of our young people facing a very bleak future being US bars and a world where the US decides what we are allowed to see and know.  This is not why Tim Berners-Lee gave away his code for free for everyone in the world to use as he/she sees fit. 

The Internet is not the property of the US government, it belongs to everyone and no one.  We must fight with every ounce of strength to ensure that we do not lose the freedoms that the Internet has given to the peoples of the world. 


As a US citizen, I am appalled that our government finds it acceptable to remove young people- people who are not dangerous and not exactly criminals- from their homes, families, and the protections of their own government, just so that some billionaire media mogul can "make an example of him" for crimes that weren't even committed on US soil. Even oppressed countries like Iran and North Korea don't do that.

This is a UK matter, the US has absolutely no business forcing themselves on it.USA

 The madness of the British politicial system allowing this youth to face trial in a foreign country when your own police have dropped charges for the same crime beggars belief.

Your political elite have sold your hearts to the EU and your souls to the US.

Tell them to grow some balls and protect your children! AUSTRALIA

No one should be pulled out of their OWN country for a crime committed in their OWN country. Also the pain and suffering caused by putting a person into a FOREIGN court system and the holding and jailing procedures are never taken into consideration.USA

 I can not begin to express my disgust for this case. I know in the United States we have the word justice attached to our system as a partial oxymoron, but I thought the UK actually had capable courts, judges, and laws that seek justice.USA

 It is disgraceful to think that the UK or any developed sovereign nation would allow its citizens to be treated this way. For shame AUSTRALIA

 This attempt at extradition is a nasty and contemptible piece of work and should be stopped forthwith.IRELAND

 good luck on your fight against extradition. the US seems to be the big mean bully in the playground, and this it yet another classic case of just that. i wish you the best of luck fighting this nasty opponent, who's own demise shall be through its own greed.CANADA


 Mr. O'Dwyer will and can _not_ be fairly tried on this matter in the United States. Due to regulatory capture it is impossible for civil or criminal penalties to issue on these matters in U.S. jurisdictions.USA

 This is a violation of human rights, I'm ashamed that my government would engage in such malicious activities and violates one's human rights to this extent. It's an unfortunate injustice, that is just more cause for a revolution-- to change ourselves, for the better.USA

 Next they will own England because the Prince sang one of their songs in the shower USA

 I fully support Richard O'Dwyer, what is happening to him is complete non sense. Please stop this Extradition immediately USA
 Help this guy out from the oppressive and corrupt American legal system! Leave him home! USA

 IP infringement should only be actionable in the country in which it occurred. If the UK does not acknowledge that infringement occurred, or that no reasonable laws were broke, then a person should not be extradited to a foreign power. That's the right of a people to rule themselves. The UK is not an American colony, don't act like one.USA

 This is absolutely absurd - if this extradition goes through, my company will be locking out US IP addresses, and I will be urging companies I consult for to do the same. The Internet is a global community, and the laws of the United States do not apply outside of their borders. If they can't accept that, they will find a lot of locked doors on the Internet.CANADA

My American government is getting too arrogant, obnoxious, and obtrusive in forcing it's draconian laws not only on it's own citizens, but now the rest of the world. Someone needs to stand up to the American government and stop them. The U.K. Parliament needs only to remember that U.S. laws do not apply in the U.K. Stop the extradition of Richard O'Dwyer. PHILLIPINES

 The extradition of an UK-student - living in the UK, having used UK-domains and UK-servers only - to the USA for a non-crime, non-violent action like copyright infringement of all things under acts made for terrorists is ridiculous, grossly unfair, out of any proportion and a shocking abuse of justice. I'm stunned and disgusted. I hope common sense will prevail!HONGKONG

 I'm American but if I were a citizen of the UK I would be ashamed that my own country isn't protecting me. I hope this situation gets resolved without him having to be tried in the US or in the UK. Movie studios & tv networks are trying to hold on to a DEAD business model that is not sustainable in the 21st century. They are using vast financial resources to enlist the government to do their bidding, & it's not right. I had more to say but no room. Go here 2 read my comment USA

Switzerland is watching the UK's reaction to these events.
For the sake of Justice and Integrity, the UK should not allow one of it's young citizens to be deported to the country that operates Guantanamo Bay, especially not for an activity that so far has not even been ruled as illegal (i.e. linking to other websites).
UK courts are perfectly capable of trying this case and the UK must protect it's citizens.SWITZERLAND

 This has to be some kind of sick joke. Extradition to a country he's never been? USA

 Best of luck to you Richard, I really hope everything goes well for you. You don't deserve this. USA

Watch out, Google, you're next for referring people to other websites that break the law.CANADA

 To Richard and family: God bless and good luck USA

Running an internet site with an extension that is managed by a US company does NOT give the US the jurisdiction to supersede other countries' laws, despite the fact they might feel otherwise. If no other connection abroad exist, people should be prosecuted under local laws.HUNGARY

Friday, 16 December 2011


Extradition for something like this is laughable, at best. The man is not a US citizen and, as such, cannot be tried fairly in a US court of law. If he has committed offenses of a high enough calibre, take care of it without an international pissing contest. This just screams "totalitarian paid police". Stop going after kids simply because you want more money. US Comment

Uploading links its not illegal.UK COMMENT

The US talks about freedom and democracy, they need to respect other country's laws more and mind their own business.CANADA COMMENT

People should be free to use the internet without fear of America.UK COMMENT

The U.S. Government, the courts and law enforcement are completely out of control with this copyright insanity. To allow them to reach across borders and extradite a citizen of another country for such an absurd non-crime is a complete intolerable travesty. The U.S. does NOT run the world. Their primary concern is protecting and looking out for the interests of big business and the rich. If they choose to chase down their own people, so be it. Their insanity must remain within the U.S. UK COMMENT

TVShack was intended for residents of the United Kingdom. No attempt was made to target anyone with TVShack in the USA. An extradition of Richard O'Dwyer from the United Kingdom to the USA is NOT supported by large numbers of residents of the USA (including myself).US COMMENT

 This extradition policy is one sided. It is unfair, unjustified and unreasonable.UK COMMENT

These laws were drawn up to deal with terrorism suspects. Why is there even a debate about it? The UK desperately strives to nurture a so called "special relationship" with the US which only suits the US. UK MPs should make the law absolutely unambiguous that it is for terrorism offences and nothing else. We know what US "justice" looks like and whilst they see themselves as the land of the free, we know better. If my MP does not sign up to this I will vote for someone who will as should we all. UK COMMENT

This is ridiculous. Firstly his site did not host any illegal content, only links. And secondly everything that happened was in the uk. Another blatant abuse of power by the American movie industry. If hes committed a crime ok fair enough, if the law says he has then he has but the us needs to stop sticking its nose into other country's affairs. Why do they think they are becoming so unpopular around the world. Isn't their country big enough for them anymore? I hope he gets a fair trial:) NEW ZEALAND COMMENT

This is ridiculous. I live in the USA and they should not have any power over any other countries citizen, hell they can not take care of their own problems, and this certainly is not a problem they should be throwing money at. Linking, and Streaming should be left alone. America Clean up your own back yard before you start extraditing some nice college kid for linking sites. 

Thursday, 15 December 2011


The facts of the case 

Richard created a website called The site held links only which its users could select, on selection they would be taken elsewhere on the internet where they could access films, tv shows,new and documentaries. No films etc were held/stored on his website nor could they be downloaded from  his website. Richard did not make copies of  films, sell films or charge  people money to access his website which was available on the internet for anyone who wanted to do so.Two foreign advertising companies approached Richard asking if they could place ads on his site, he agreed and this generated income when the public visited the site, not when they selected the film/show links.

How Linking Works 

When the ICE seized Richards website placing their banner and now their promotional video on it, he was annoyed as he thought he was nothing to do with America or subject to their laws so he placed a Youtube video of a rap song "F**k the Police " on the site for about 1 hour only before taking it down, across the video were the words  F**K the Police.(Censored on his site) Apparently this did not amuse the humourless Americans so they decided to come after him. In the mean time Richard quickly resurrected TVShack with a new domain name 

On November the 29th a  "CyberMonday" in an ICE "Operation in Our Sites" UK Police came to question Richard, they had two Americans with them who were not present during questioning. The Police took away his computer and laptop, these are still in their possession. Richard told them all about his website then the same day closed it down.At no time during questioning by the UK Police was extradition mentioned, Richard assumed when released on bail without charge that they may or may not charge him at a later date.



Stop Extradition Fair UK Trial for Richard O'Dwyer

 Please sign and pass on this petition to anyone you think may wish to sign it. Richard is not trying to evade justice in fact he would welcome charges being brought against him in the UK where he was at all times. In a UK court of  law Richard would be able to defend himself and may be found guilty or not guilty and would if found guilty pay the penalty. 

Please help me to get these numbers up by spreading the word.

Thank you 


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

#Extradition Art by @mak_art

Thanks to @mak_art for taking so much time to create this piece of art in support of Richard, Gary and Babar

Click on Image to enlarge

14th December 2011- Happy Birthday Janis

Whilst Gary Mckinnon has been fighting for a UK trial and against extradition to the US since he was first questioned by the UK Police early in 2002 although extradition was not actively pursued until 2005 and conveniently after the current 2003 Extradition Treaty was enacted. Gary's mum Janis has fought tirelessly for him for all these years and it has been one long tortuous battle. So while this Christmas will be Gary's 10th Christmas living under the threat of extradition and all that would entail, today will be Janis's 10th birthday fighting the fight, never giving up "Fighting like a Tiger " to save Gary from being shipped off thousands of miles away from his family and left to rot in a US jail only for as long as Gary could bear it before committing suicide. Janis's fight was recently acknowledged by Liberty who awarded her with a Human Rights award - very well deserved.
Janis should not have to endure another birthday or another Christmas suffering this mental torture that no decent human being would allow an animal to suffer, so lets hope and wish that this is the very last birthday Janis has to spend fighting for her son's life.

There have been lots of small wins recently on the political front with extradition.Gary's fate is in the hands of Theresa May the Home Secretary who is still considering the medical evidence which supports the opinion that Gary should not be extradited to the US as suicide would be almost certain.
Keep strong Janis, keep up the fight and keep your chin up! A HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you, may your next one be a "Proper" Happy Birthday, the one that can celebrate you and  Gary having that terrible threat removed and being able to rebuild your lives and repair the damage done to Gary, you and your family.

Best Wishes on your Birthday Janis from Julia and Richard XX

Monday, 5 December 2011


Newsflash *********

The Extradition reform debate resulted in the motion being carried! Woo

More news to follow I expect watch the space and twitter

Janis on BBC 6th Dec 

The Debate in Full -Hansard 


                  Janis Sharp on London Tonight on the run up to the debate.

Since the success of the debate on 25th November which has resulted in successfully achieving todays debate, extradition has been very much in the news. Supporters of Gary Mckinnon and Babar Ahmad who have very long established active campaigns have been very much in the media spotlight and both have been highlighting Richard's case along with that of Chris Tappin. Many thanks to Janis Sharp and Babar's family. You know what WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
Here is some of the reporting from this week beginning with hot off the press a small win for Julian Assange who whilst fighting extradition to Sweden under an EAW could also find himself fighting extradition to the US.

Brilliant Speaking as usual today from Janis Sharp on Russia Today along with Keith Vaz 

This is exactly why Janis truly deserved the Human Rights Award from  Liberty Human Rights Organisation 

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.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Mother's Ruin

The effect on our lives cannot be underestimated, Richard is  back at University where this year he is on a work placement. Obviously his employer and University needed to be informed about the situation. Thankfully all were supportive enabling Richard to carry on as planned which is helping to keep his mind off extradition.Having the threat of extradition hanging over him cannot be easy despite his "head in sand" approach.
Since our first visit to City of Westminster Magistrates Court I have not been able to go to my work, my career has been ruined as extradition has taken a hold. This thing has taken over my life completely, my concentration is poor and my motivation zero. I am spending every day all day either speaking to the media to raise awareness of the situation and the unbalanced Extradition Treaty with the US or spend time researching the law on extradition, human rights and copyright.
The worry of the extradition threat is not easy to live with, the thought of having your son carted off thousands of miles away to the US is a terrifying thought.

My partner has left unable to live with the stress. The stress of not getting enough attention due to me being slightly distracted!! Lol. So now I'm fighting and worrying about this alone on a day to day basis.

However so many people I have never met sending messages of goodwill and useful information. I am in constant contact with Janis Sharp mother of Gary McKinnon who has been fighting extradition to the US for nearly 10 years. Janis is so knowledgeable and supportive, I am so grateful for her help.

Latest on Gary Mckinnon

Other new friends David Bermingham who was himself extradited to the US. David has been fighting this extradition act since he was released after his own extradition. David has also assisted others facing extradition to the US, his own experiences mean he is extremely knowledgeable.

The NatWest Three Case

The Natwest Three Story in Detail 

Melanie Riley of Bell -Yard Communications who too is very knowledgeable and helps us to deal with the media. Bell-Yard Communications Ltd

Melanie asked Richard to create the website   Friends Extradited- All about extradition to the US to provide a source of information , support and raise awareness of the UK/US Extradition treaty.

I musn't forget my new Twitter friends too numerous to mention just now but I will do soon. Thank you