A Brief History of Liberty

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Julia O’Dwyer email on extradition deal

In case you’ve not heard the news, Sheffield Hallam student Richard O’Dwyer was facing extradition and imprisonment in the US for creating a website that allowed users to share files illegally. The debate at the time was whether his actions constituted a crime in the UK, as his website didn’t actually host any illegal data. Regardless, Richard has reached a deal with the US in which they will formally drop the extradition request.

Sheffield Hallam Uni Liberal Democrats were opposed to the extradition and petitioned on Richard’s behalf, and we are delighted with this relatively happy ending to the sad affair.

Below is Richard’s mother, Julia O’Dwyer’s email regarding the affair (reposted with her permission). I think that she deserves a huge amount of credit for her high profile campaigning on her son’s behalf during what must have been an intensely stressful and emotional time.

On Wednesday it was announced that Richard O’Dwyer’s extradition would be withdrawn by the US following an agreement that means he will avoid trial in a “deferred prosecution”.
Instead, Richard will travel to the US in the next 14 days, pay some compensation and promise not to infringe copyright laws again. The High Court will then formally dispose of the extradition request and as Judge Sir John Thomas said “It would be very nice for everyone if this was resolved happily before Christmas.”
This is a great success for Richard and myself after campaigning tirelessly. Wednesday’s news came as a surprise to us but it is not quite the end of our two year battle.
We would like to thank all of our supporters and campaigners for their amazing efforts, no better illustrated than by the massively successful petition many signed on Change.org led by Jimmy Waleswhich has well over a quarter of a million signatures.
Numerous individuals have supported us in many ways for example by launching a fighting fund to cover unexpected expenses in the US and as Wednesday’s amazing news has shown this fund will be needed and is very much appreciated. If you would like to support the fund please click here.
We have had so much support from members of the public, MPs from all parties, people from the music and movie industries, numerous British and US Lawyers, renowned internet and digital entrepreneurs and groups such as Steve Wozniak, Cory Doctorow, Rick Falkvinge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Open Rights Group & Open Digital.
I must mention the huge support found on Twitter which has proved to be such an invaluable source of information, support and friendships as well as a great way to spread the word.
We are delighted with the President of the High Court’s decision and comments which mean this matter can be resolved to the satisfaction of both sides and we look forward to finalising the matter in due course.
Thank you for your support.
Julia