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June 25, 2012

Wikipedia launches campaign against extradition of British student to the U.S.

Founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales has launched a campaign to stop the extradition to the United States of 24 year old British student, Richard O’Dwyer.

By Tineka Smith

Richard O'Dwyer
Richard O’Dwyer currently faces extradition to the US

Richard O’Dwyer faces extradition to the US and up to ten years in prison for creating a website,, which linked to places to watch TV and movies online. The site did not host any copyrighted material itself.

The United States says that people were able to access copyrighted material in the states which justifies O’Dwyer to be extradited there in order to face charges of copyright infringement.

The 24 year old British student was arrested a year ago but does not face prosecution in the UK.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and home secretary, Theresa May signed O’Dwyer’s extradition order in March this year.

Jimmy Wales, however, has launched the campaign which began on Sunday and has reached over 16,000 signatures at the time of writing. The campaign directly targets Cameron, Clegg and May demanding them to O’Dwyer’s extradition to the United States.

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Writing in the Guardian, Wales said "Due to heavy lobbying and much money lavished on politicians, until very recently the content industry has won every battle," said Wales."We, the users of the internet, handed them their first major defeat earlier this year with the epic Sopa/Pipa protests which culminated in a widespread internet blackout and 10 million people contacting the US Congress to voice their opposition."

US authorities say that the 24 year old student illegally made £147,000 from advertising displayed on the website. However, O’Dwyer’s lawyers argue that linking to other content is not illegal under UK law.

"O’Dwyer is not a US citizen, he’s lived in the UK all his life, his site was not hosted there, and most of his users were not from the US," said Wales.

Wales describes O’Dwyer’s situation as the "human face" of the fight between the content industry and the general public.

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

Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.

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