Prison fears of student facing extradition to USA

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A SHEFFIELD Hallam University student facing extradition to the United States over copyright allegations has spoken of his fears of being held in a maximum security jail while he awaits trial.

Richard O’Dwyer, aged 23, who is originally from Bolsover but now lives in student accommodation on Shoreham Street in Sheffield city centre, faces extradition over the TVShack website he set up, which US authorities claim provided links to pirated films and television programmes.

The computer science student allegedly earned thousands of pounds through advertising on the site he ran from his bedroom before it was closed down.

He is accused of infringing copyright laws and if convicted faces up to 10 years in jail.

Last week he lodged an appeal against his extradition.

The undergraduate spoke out after retired British businessman Christopher Tappin, 65, was extradited to the US where he is being held in the Otero County detention centre in New Mexico over arms dealing charges.

“Yes, I am scared, I have seen in the media what they did to Chris Tappin and how he has been put straight into jail with no bail,” O’Dwyer said.

“I have no criminal record and don’t think I deserve to be imprisoned for what should be a civil matter, if anything. In the UK if I was charged with any offence I would not be put in jail for such a matter.”

But he added: “I am trying to stay positive and most importantly I want to complete my university degree.”

His mother Julia will attend a human rights debate in Sheffield tomorrow evening. Speakers at the event – in the Stoddart Lecture Theatre of Sheffield Hallam University’s city centre campus – will include director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabati.