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Home Office to ignore Wikipedia founder's petition against O'Dwyer extradition

02 Jul 2012
TVShack's Richard O'Dwyer

The Home Office has confirmed home secretary Theresa May will not block TVShack founder Richard O'Dwyer's US extradition, despite widespread calls for her to do so.

The office confirmed to V3 that it was aware of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales' anti-extradition petition, but would not be swayed by it on Monday.

"Richard O'Dwyer is wanted in the US for offences related to copyright infringement," a Home Office spokesman told V3

"The UK courts found there were no statutory bars to his surrender under the Extradition Act 2003 and on 9 March the Home Secretary, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed an order for his extradition to the US." 

The spokesperson confirmed that O'Dwyer's fate will be decided at his appeal hearing later in the year.

"Mr O'Dwyer has appealed against the decision of the District Judge and an appeal hearing will be held in due course."

Wales started the petition on 24 June, claiming the US extradition request infringes on British citizen's rights.

"Given the thin case against him, it is an outrage that he is being extradited to the US to face felony charges for something that he is not being prosecuted for here," he wrote in the petition.

"No US citizen has ever been brought to the UK for alleged criminal activity that took place on US soil."

The petition soon gathered mass support, breaking past the 200,000 milestone over the weekend, having hit 160,000 signatures on Friday.

The petition has received support from several celebrities and politicians. The most vocal advocates include Black Books and Father Ted writer Graham Linehan, Labour deputy chairman Tom Watson, Conservative MP Louise Mensch and Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart.

"It just seems to me that people like Richard are being punished for being able to navigate the modern world," said Linehan.

"The internet has changed everything. They're doing what comes naturally in these new uncharted waters and suddenly they're getting their collars felt by people who still have Hotmail addresses."

O'Dwyer is one of many website owners to have been arrested during US law enforcement's ongoing anti-piracy campaign. As well as O'Dwyer the FBI is also seeking the extradition of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.

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Alastair Stevenson
About

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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