Despite Jimmy Wales' petition to save Richard O'Dwyer now reaching in excess of 209,000 signatures, V3.co.uk has today reported that the Home Office have confirmed they will still not block the extradition of Richard O'Dwyer to the US to face charges of copyright infringement.
With such a surge of support for Richard over the weekend - more than trebling in numbers since my last post - it is curious to note that there has been very little media coverage of the situation, that I have seen. Admittedly, I watch very little television and do not read the papers, but both formats also present news items on their websites, which I do read. So where are the articles? Where is the news coverage that would normally accompany something that generates this much interest in a short space of time?
Since 25 July 2012, when Richard's story came back to my attention, very few news outlets have been tracking the progression of the case and the rapid increase of signatures on the petition; there is certainly nothing newer than three days ago. Conversely, the blogosphere is very much alive with the news and outpourings of support, with posts appearing on the sites of Richard Dawkins and Dominic Raab MP, amongst others. I find it quite surprising that this case has not been in the news more considering that in the past week the signatures have more than trebled, something that usually catches the eyes of the news organisations, especially when coupled with a case that is stretching the limits of legality.
So why the hush? Are the media organisations really in support of this action? Or has there been something of an enforced hush by Theresa May and her team at the Home Office, both sites of whom have no mention of the case, as at this posting?
As I understand it, there is currently a review being led by Sir Menzies Campbell into the current state of the extradition agreements between the UK and the US, as it has been highlighted that there is an apparent imbalance in the burden of proof and that laws introduced in 2003 as part of anti-terrorism measures are now being used improperly.
At the very least, extraditions such as Richard O'Dwyer's should be suspended until the review has been completed: an issue with the law has been identified by the government and, as such, it is my opinion that it would be wholely unjust to process any individuals whilst in the knowledge that what you are doing could cause harm.
Richard's appeal was to be held at the end of July but was reported by the BBC at the end of May that this has been postponed until later in the year. Hopefully, the review will be complete by then and actions can be taken to allow the appeal to be processed under fairer conditions.
In the meantime, it is still important to spread word of the petition and gain as many signatures as possible, as this is about more than one individual, it is about making a fundamental change to an important agreement, ensuring both US and UK parties have equal constraints and conditions in the extradition process.