Sheffield Hallam University hosts Richard O’Dwyer discussion

Julia O'Dwyer (middle) listens to a question at the discussion

Sheffield Hallam University hosted a discussion on the Richard O’Dwyer case yesterday evening. The event was organised by the civil rights pressure group Liberty and was chaired by its Director, Shami Chakrabarti.

Amongst those speaking at the event were Richard’s mother Julia O’Dwyer and Liberty’s Directer of Policy Isabella Sankey.

There was also an unexpected appearance from sympathetic conservative MP David Davis.

‘Destructive’

Mrs. O’Dwyer began comically: “who’d have thought that a student in his bedroom would end up in so much bloomin’ trouble?”

But her pain became obvious as she fought back tears explaining the difficulty of the past few months.

She told the audience that she has had to become a “mini-lawyer” to assist her son.

She described the stress of the situation as “destructive,” saying that it has put a lot of pressure on her relationships and work life.

“The prospect of Richard being in America is terrifying,” she said.

“We’re fighting our own government and it feels like a futile fight.”

‘Grotesque injustice’

Liberty’s Director of Policy Isabella Sankey highlighted that extradition “has its place” for cases such as international terrorism.

But she said that extradition is “a trauma in and of itself” and in order to avoid situations like O’Dwyer’s “there need to be some basic safeguards.”

There was an unexpected appearance from Conservative MP David Davis, who described the current extradition law as “draconian.”

He said that the law between the UK and USA is “completely asymmetric” and called for the public to voice their indignation.

“It’s a grotesque injustice,” he said.

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