March 19, 2012

Or alternatively, put another way…

Filed under: Uncategorized — madaxeman @ 12:42 am

I’ve been trying to think of some way to explain precisely why the decision to authorise the extradition if Richard O’Dwyer is an affront to justice, yet in terms that anyone will instantly appreciate. After much consternation, this is what I have…

Let’s imagine a thirty something year old woman, who we’ll call Emily for the hell of it, cheats on her husband. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens all the time. There’s nothing special about Emily of course, just a woman who has succumbed to temptation…

Now, thus is where it gets interesting. A middle Eastern country with an fundamentalist Islamic government makes an extradition request. The woman’s husband is a follower of Islam, and this particular country therefore wishes to see her brought to their idea of justice. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, she was facing 10 lashes – and believe me, in some nations she might face far worse…

Now, right about now you’re thinking I’m being silly, right? There’s no way that the British government would extradite her, is there? Adultery, distasteful though it is, isn’t a crime under UK law. The events in the case all agreed by all parties to have taken place on UK soil. Even if there was a suggestion of a crime, we wouldn’t extradite a citizen when they might not receive a fair trial, or be detained without one…

The problem is of course that it all seems to depend on who is doing the asking – because our own government have just authorised the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer to the United States. His alleged crime (building a web site providing links to various copyrighted content, but not actually hosting any of it) is no more a crime here than adultery. Even if it were, the server is actually in Sweden, so the United States have no justification in seeking his extradition.

Unfortunately, Richard O’Dwyer finds himself on the wrong side of a very one sided extradition treaty. All the US have to do basically is ask for him. No need to supply evidence of his “crimes”. No need to trouble ourselves with whether the actions of a UK citizen on UK soil are any concern of a foreign power… No – the arrangement basically seems to be that the US tell us who they want, and we tell them what plane they’ll arrive on.

I respect international treaty obligations, and I respect freedom. Rarely do I find these two ideas conflict, but this time, they’ve clearly gone to far. The Home Secretary needs to urgently reassess her position. If she finds she cannot do that within the terms of the treaty, then it’s time to break with the treaty.

Either that, or break with the British people…


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