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UK won’t extradite child molester, but will extradite file sharer

July 6th, 2012

The United Kingdom said that they won’t extradite Shawn Sullivan to the United States to face charges of rape and child molestation because they see Minnesota’s rehabilitation program as draconian. They will, however, extradite Richard O’Dwyer for sharing links to TV shows on his website.

In Sullivan’s case, he is accused of molesting two 11-year old girls and raping a third, 14-year old girl in the 1990s. He then fled to Ireland to avoid prosecution. Sullivan fled to the UK after being convicted of sexual assault in Ireland.

QSullivan escaped to Ireland as prosecutors prepared to file charges, and while staying there was convicted of sexually assaulting two 12-year-old girls. Sullivan, a dual U.S.-Irish citizen, moved to London using an Irish passport that spelled his last name in Gaelic as “O’Suilleabhain.”

Judges Alan Moses and David Eady said in a ruling finalized Thursday that if Sullivan were returned to the U.S., he could face a real risk of being placed in the state’s civil commitment program — which provides for the indefinite detention of people found to be sexually dangerous — and suffer “a flagrant denial of his rights.”

Two Minnesota prosecutors in the counties where Sullivan faces charges defended their decision not to guarantee Sullivan would be kept out of the program, saying it was “not in the interests of public safety.”

The British judges made clear in an earlier decision that they would have supported Sullivan’s extradition had it not been for the sex treatment program, which they described as among the toughest in the U.S.

Given the facts, it’s quite clear that this man can, and most likely will, re-offend. When confronted with possible conviction and jail time in Minnesota, he fled to Ireland. He sexually assaulted two more girls, was convicted, and then fled again. He got away with it because he used his Irish passport with a Gaelic spelling of his name. This is not the sort of man that should be allowed to walk free as it is clear that he is willing to assault little girls and break the law in order to flee.

Richard O’Dwyer, on the other hand, is accused of running a website that had links to other sites where you could find TV streams. He did this while living in the UK and his site was never hosted in the US. O’Dwyer faces up to ten years in prison in the United States as opposed to six month in the United Kingdom. He committed no crimes in America, and probably has never set foot in America, yet he is facing extradition.

The Home Office has confirmed home secretary Theresa May will not block TVShack founder Richard O’Dwyer’s US extradition, despite widespread calls for her to do so.

“Richard O’Dwyer is wanted in the US for offences related to copyright infringement,” a Home Office spokesman told V3.

“The UK courts found there were no statutory bars to his surrender under the Extradition Act 2003 and on 9 March the Home Secretary, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed an order for his extradition to the US.”
Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales created a petition[http://www.change.org/petitions/ukhomeoffice-stop-the-extradition-of-richard-o-dwyer-to-the-usa-saverichard] to stop O’Dwyer’s extradition, but, so far, May has ignored it.

Richard O’Dwyer is a 24 year old British student at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. He is facing extradition to the USA and up to ten years in prison, for creating a website – TVShack.net – which linked (similar to a search-engine) to places to watch TV and movies online.

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. America is trying to prosecute a UK citizen for an alleged crime which took place on UK soil.

If a person can perform an act that isn’t a criminal offense in their own country, but is in someone else’s, what guarantees do they have for their safety and their lives that they won’t be extradited? For example, it’s not illegal to be homosexual in the United States, but, what if you have a website that talks about homosexuality and the citizens of Saudi Arabia have access to it? Will you be extradited for prosecution? Germany doesn’t force other countries with neo-Nazis spreading hate on their websites to be extradited because they understand that, even if it’s illegal in Germany, another country may protect that speech, not matter how vile it might be.

In further hypocrisy, the United Kingdom is still not planning on sending Sarah Ferguson to Turkey because what she did was not an offense in the United Kingdom.

Turkey sought Ferguson’s extradition after a Turkish court accused her of “breaking the law in acquiring footage and violating the privacy of five children” while making the documentary in 2008, Turkey’s Anatolian news agency said.

The charges carry a maximum jail term of 22 years six months.

If performing undercover filming of the conditions in Turkish orphanages are not an offense in Britain, but are in Turkey, then surely she should be sent to stand trial in Turkey. Richard O’Dwyer’s crime is only a minor offense in the UK, so, surely, he should not be extradited to the United States. Then again, Richard O’Dwyer isn’t Sarah Ferguson and isn’t likely to get special treatment because of who he is.

Yes, the Sullivan and O’Dwyer cases are complicated, but it should be obvious that, if what O’Dwyer did was somewhat trivial, with a maximum of 12 months in prison, he should not be sent to a country where the maximum is ten years. It’s a ridiculous amount of time for such a small crime that the United Kingdom should be fighting as hard for O’Dwyer as they have for Sullivan. Sullivan has allegedly committed two molestations and one rape while being convicted of two counts of sexual assault over the course of eighteen years and fled two countries to avoid prosecution and incarceration. Who would you rather have walking the streets as a free man? Who would you stand up and defend?

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This article originally appeared at The Daily Censored.

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