Home Secretary Theresa May is under increasing pressure to reverse her decision to extradite 24 year old student and TVShack.net foundr Richard O’Dwyer after a petition started by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales receives more than 160,000 signatures in just five days.
The campaign, launched by Wales in conjunction with the Guardian newspaper on Monday, has been backed by celebrities and politicians including Labour Deputy Chair Tom Watson MP, Conservative MP Louise Mensch who referred to the extradition as “unconscionable”, and Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart.
Speaking when launching the campaign on Monday, Jimmy Wales said:
“Given the thin case against him [Richard], 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.”
Julia O’Dwyer, Richard’s mother, said:
“I’m blown away by the response to Jimmy’s petition. It’s been a tough year campaigning for my son but this outpouring of support from around the world has really made politicians sit up and take note of Richard’s case. Now it’s time for Theresa May to do the right thing by Richard.”
Graham Linehan writer of sitcoms The IT Crowd, Black Books and Father Ted, signed the petition, saying:
“It just seems to me that people like Richard are being punished for being able to navigate the modern world. 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.”