Thursday, 28 June 2012

My Letter to David Cameron

22nd June 2012

Dear Prime Minister  

I am writing to you about my son Richard and his extradition to the US for alleged copyright infringement. I would hope that you are aware of the case from the media coverage, from the Home Secretary and also due to the large volume of e mails and letters which have been sent to Nick Clegg, Theresa May, Dominic Grieve Ken Clarke and MP’s from members of the public which should have been brought to your attention.

Aside from whether Richard may or may not have committed any offence, although it is looking increasingly doubtful whether what he did is a crime in either country, the fact is that he never set foot in the US.  You must be aware that a Freedom of Information Request response from the Home Office dated 11th April this year states that: no American citizen has been extradited to the UK for a crime committed in the US under the current treaty.

It really does alarm me that this situation is allowed to continue unabated, British people being shipped off to the US some of whom will never be seen again, while the US quite rightly protects its own citizens. Promises and assurances have been made by many, reports and reviews have been commissioned and delivered. The Home Secretary will announce “shortly” her decision on extradition reform.                            

 It really is a shame that we are all outside on the street today protesting. It is shameful that our own government continues to do nothing to amend an extradition treaty which has been shown time and time again to be not fit for purpose and which despite protestations to the contrary could be easily corrected. The intellectual arguments on the need for change have been won repeatedly since this treaty came into force.

It is time for evidence based action, no more back door deals without parliamentary scrutiny. British citizens simply must have the same protections as their US counterparts. No favours are required from the US- just the same rights as US citizens who are not extradited to the UK for alleged crimes committed on their home soil – they have Forum and constitutional rights and that is what my son  should have.

Richard is a 23yr old university student not a common criminal, not a fugitive, never been to the US but this rotten law which provides little opportunity for him to prove that what he did is not even a crime in this country, is creating such a stranglehold on the Judiciary that they are almost helpless to do anything other than agree to his extradition. Even more galling I have a letter from Keir Starmer’s office stating that my son’s case “ is not  considered to be in the category of serious “ Forgive me but Extradition not a serious matter! 
 I wonder how you and Mrs Cameron would feel if this were to happen to one of your children in a few  years’  time, quite possible if this is allowed to continue with internet usage such a huge part of everyday life . I can tell you it is not a very nice place for a parent to be in. I am a Specialist Nurse to Children with palliative care needs. This is destroying my work and my life as well as Richards, I should not have to be doing this.

 I know the Extradition Act like the back of my hand, I have read and heard every report and debate on the subject and seen numerous canned letters from the Home Office about all of this, there is nothing I don’t know about it. I am asking for British justice for Richard, not suggesting that extradition is not necessary for fugitives from serious crime. The Forum amendment already agreed several years ago should be enacted to give Richard the same protections as a computer geek in the US would be allowed. Sorry to go on but I am so very angry and extremely upset with this situation.

Yours Faithfully

Julia O’Dwyer

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