Richard O'Dwyer Cleared For Extradition To US Over TVShack Site

Richard Odwyer

First Posted: 13/03/2012 15:40 Updated: 13/03/2012 17:16

The mother of a student who will be extradited to the US to face copyright charges has accused the government of selling him "down the river" as Theresa May approved his extradition.

Richard O'Dwyer's mother Julia said the government was "paving the way" for UK citizens to be extradited to the US.

"Today, yet another British citizen is being sold down the river by the British government," 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."

The mother was told that home secretary Theresa May signed off on her son's extradition on Tuesday afternoon.

In January a judge ruled the allegations against O'Dwyer merited a trial in the US. The decision prompted a US resident to ask president Barack Obama why he was supporting the extradition during an online Q&A session with the president.

Michael Mozart of Connecticut asked Obama : "Why are you personally supporting the extradition of UK citizen Richard O'Dwyer for solely linking to copyright infringing works using an extradition treaty designed to combat terrorism and bring terrorists to judgement in the USA?"

The 23 year-old, is wanted over the TVShack website he created which enabled users to watch films and television shows for free.

The Sheffield Hallam University undergraduate earned money through hosting advertisements on the TVShack website, allegedly receiving more than US$230,000 (around £147,000) in advertising revenue since January 2008, according to the US authorities.

O'Dwyer could face up to a decade in a US jail if he is convicted of the allegations.

His extradition follows that of Christopher Tappin, a retired British businessman who claimed terrorists had more human rights than him in February as he was escorted to the US by air marshals.

The O'Dwyer case is also similar to that of Gary McKinnon, the Briton accused by the US authorities of hacking into Pentagon computers in 2002.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve said last month that Tappin's extradition had highlighted problems with the treaty between the UK and the United States which are not "readily curable."

O'Dwyer's mother said her son's extradition "should make for an interesting conversation between the Obamas and Camerons aboard Air Force One - but I'm not holding my breath."

The prime minister is currently in America visiting President Obama.

In December MPs demanded the government amended the UK-US extradition treaty amid fears it was unfair on British citizens, an accusation the American government has denied.

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Filed by Dina Rickman  |