The US has asked Switzerland to extradite seven FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges in May, the Swiss authorities say.
Formal extradition requests were submitted on July 1, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said.
The seven top executives arrested in Zurich are among 14 FIFA officials indicted on charges of “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption.
The charges follow a major inquiry by the FBI.
The FOJ said Zurich police, acting on its behalf, would give the seven officials a hearing over the extradition requests.
The officials and their lawyers would have 14 days to respond to the request, which could be extended, the FOJ statement said.
After that, the FOJ would give its decision “within a few weeks”, but warned that any ruling could be challenged in both the federal criminal court and the federal supreme court.
Photo Getty Images
Jeffrey Webb, FIFA vice-president in charge of North and Central America, was among those arrested by Swiss police in a raid on a luxury hotel in the early hours of May 27.
The seven are among 14 defendants the US has charged with racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies.
In a 47-count indictment unveiled in a New York federal court, they were accused of taking part “in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer”.
The indictment alleges that US and South American sports marketing executives paid and agreed to pay “well over $150 million” in bribes and other illegal payments to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to football tournaments.
The corruption was planned in the US, the indictment said. The use of US banks to transfer money appears to have been key to the investigation.
The charges follow a three-year FBI investigation. It was initially sparked by the bidding process for the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups, but was then widened to look back at FIFA’s dealings over two decades.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has not been indicted, although both the US and Swiss authorities have said they may interview him as part of their investigations.
Most probably Italy will ask the US to extradite Amanda Knox and the decision will probably come down to Secretary of State John Kerry.
According to legal experts, it would be difficult for John Kerry to refuse the request.
Amanda Knox, who was convicted for a second time by an Italian court on Thursday in the 2007 murder of her roommate, vowed to “fight this until the very end”. And Italy would probably wait until the appeals process plays out before asking the US to expel her.
Italy and the US have an extradition treaty, and unless American authorities find clear evidence of a miscarriage of justice, legal experts say, it would be difficult for the US to say no.
Amanda Knox, 26, an American citizen, was convicted by an Italian court in 2009 in the murder of Meredith Kercher, a British student who was found dead in a pool of blood in the apartment she shared with Knox.
An appeals court in Italy threw out the conviction in 2011 after independent experts said DNA evidence had been contaminated by the police.
Amanda Knox, who had spent four years in prison, returned to the US.
Amanda Knox was convicted by an Italian court in 2009 in the murder of Meredith Kercher
The highest court in Italy later dismissed the acquittal because of “contradictions and inconsistencies”.
Then, on Thursday, an Italian court convicted Amanda Knox again and sentenced her to 28 years and six months behind bars.
Meredith Kercher’s family is pushing for Amanda Knox to be returned to Italy. Her brother, Lyle, told reporters that it would be “strange” and would set “a difficult precedent” if she were not handed over.
Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said Friday that the department has followed the case closely, but she declined to address the prospect of extradition for Amanda Knox.
“The case is still working through the Italian legal system, so we don’t want to get ahead of that process,” she said.
An extradition request would go first to the US State Department. It would review whether a treaty exists (it has since 1984), whether the crime is an extraditable offense (murder qualifies), and whether there are “any potential foreign policy problems”.
If the State Department decided that the request was proper, it would go to the Justice Department, which would check to see whether the request established probable cause that the American committed the crime – a relatively low bar to clear.
If the request cleared that hurdle, it would go to a federal judge.
If a judge failed to intervene, the extradition request would go back to the State Department and John Kerry.
Some legal analysts have said that Amanda Knox could cloak herself in the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy, being tried again for a crime after an acquittal. However, that protection wouldn’t apply to Amanda Knox.
Because extradition requests mix law and diplomacy, there are cases in which a country looks at the facts and simply declines to turn someone over.
The plane of Bolivia’s President Evo Morales plane on Moscow airport had to be diverted to Austria amid suspicion that US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was on board, the Bolivian foreign minister has said.
Officials in both Austria and Bolivia said Edward Snowden was not on the plane.
France and Portugal reportedly refused to allow the Moscow-Bolivia flight to cross their airspace.
Edward Snowden is reportedly seeking asylum in Bolivia and 20 other countries to avoid extradition to the US.
Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca told reporters on Tuesday that France and Portugal had closed their airspace over the “huge lie” that Edward Snowden, 30, was on board.
“We don’t know who invented this lie, but we want to denounce to the international community this injustice with the plane of President Evo Morales,” he said.
Austrian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Schallenberg said Edward Snowden was not on board the Bolivian leader’s aircraft.
The Bolivian defense minister, also on the flight, pilloried the US after the unscheduled landing.
“This is a hostile act by the United States state department which has used various European governments,” Ruben Saavedra said.
The plane of Bolivia’s President Evo Morales plane had to be diverted to Austria amid suspicion that Edward Snowden was on board
The Falcon aircraft was reportedly allowed to refuel in Spain before the jet went on to Vienna. President Evo Morales was said to be at the airport in Vienna discussing his return route to Bolivia early on Wednesday.
French officials said they could not confirm whether they had denied permission for President Evo Morales’ plane to fly over their territory. Portuguese officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Bolivian president had been on a visit to Moscow, where Edward Snowden, a former CIA contractor, has reportedly been holed up in an airport transit area since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23.
President Evo Morales told Russian television that Bolivia had not yet received an application from Edward Snowden, however, his request, if sent, would be considered.
“Bolivia is ready to accept people who disclose espionage if one can call it this way,” he said.
President Evo Morales and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had been in Moscow for a meeting of gas-exporting countries.
Nicolas Maduro said he had not formally received an asylum request, but expressed support for Edward Snowden, saying he “deserves the world’s protection” from the United States.
“Why are they persecuting him? What has he done? Did he launch a missile and kill someone? Did he rig a bomb and kill someone? No. He is preventing war,” he told Reuters news agency.
Edward Snowden withdrew his application to Russia after President Vladimir Putin said he could stay only on condition that he stopped damaging Russia’s “American partners” with his leaks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
He is wanted by the US on charges of leaking secrets he gathered while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s electronic spying agency.
On Tuesday, National Intelligence Director James Clapper apologized for telling Congress in March that the NSA did not have a policy of gathering data on millions of Americans.
He said in a letter to Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate intelligence committee, that his answer had been “clearly erroneous”.
The leaking of thousands of classified intelligence documents prompted revelations that the US has been systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data.
WikiLeaks, which says it is advising Edward Snowden, said most of his asylum requests had been handed to the Russian consulate at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport late on Sunday for delivery to the relevant embassies in the capital.
Edward Snowden asylum requests:
Rejected: Austria, Brazil, Finland, India, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland
President Barack Obama has said there will be no “wheeling and dealing” as part of extradition attempts against whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Speaking on a visit to the West African nation of Senegal, Barack Obama said the case would be handled through routine legal channels.
“I am not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,” the president added.
Edward Snowden, who faces espionage charges, flew to Moscow last weekend and requested asylum in Ecuador.
Barack Obama said on Thursday that he had not called China and Russia’s presidents about the case, adding: “I shouldn’t have to.”
He told a news conference in the Senegalese capital Dakar: “I’m not going to have one case of a suspect who we’re trying to extradite suddenly being elevated to the point where I’ve got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues.”
The president added: “My continued expectation is that Russia or other countries that have talked about potentially providing Mr. Snowden asylum recognize that they are a part of an international community and they should be abiding by international law.”
The US has accused Russia and China of helping Edward Snowden, which both deny.
President Barack Obama has said there will be no “wheeling and dealing” as part of extradition attempts against whistleblower Edward Snowden
Edward Obama said the leak highlighted significant vulnerabilities at the National Security Agency (NSA), the US electronic spying organization where Edward Snowden worked as a contractor until last month.
“In terms of US interests, the damage was done with respect to the initial leaks,” he said.
Ecuador said on Thursday it had not processed Edward Snowden’s asylum request because he had not reached any of its diplomatic premises.
The country also renounced its multi-million dollar trade relationship with the US, saying its forthcoming renewal would not influence any decision on Edward Snowden’s case.
“Ecuador will not accept pressures or threats from anyone, and it does not traffic in its values or allow them to be subjugated to mercantile interests,” said government spokesman Fernando Alvarado.
He also made an apparently tongue-in-cheek offer of economic aid to the US for human rights training.
The remarks come a day after the chairman of the US Senate foreign relations committee, Robert Menendez, suggested punishing Ecuador economically if it offered asylum to Edward Snowden.
The American is wanted for leaking to media that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data under a surveillance programme known as PRISM.
On Thursday, Beijing accused the US of “double standards” on cybersecurity.
China’s defense ministry said the Prism programme “has revealed the concerned country’s true face and hypocritical behavior”.
Edward Snowden, now 30, fled to Hong Kong on May 20 before flying to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Sunday, where Russian authorities say he remains in transit.
Although Russia has no extradition treaty with the US, Washington says it wants Moscow to extradite him without delay.
Russia denies reports its secret police have questioned Edward Snowden, whose US passport has been revoked.
Hong Kong officials said he had been allowed out of the territory because of a mistake in the middle name given on US arrest documents.
The US justice department dismissed that as a “pretext for not acting”.
Ecuador officials say it could take months to rule on an asylum bid by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said it had taken Ecuador two months to grant asylum to Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The website has been lending legal support to Edward Snowden, who is in a transit zone at a Moscow airport.
A WikiLeaks tweet said the American was “well” and being accompanied by one of its legal advisers “at all times”.
The website has not further elaborated on Edward Snowden’s whereabouts.
Both WikiLeaks and Russia have denied reports that the Russian secret police have questioned the American.
Edward Snowden first fled to Hong Kong before flying to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on Sunday.
He was expected to board a flight to the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Monday but his seat remained vacant.
Edward Snowden, 30, has had his US passport revoked and applied for Ecuadorean asylum.
Ecuador officials say it could take months to rule on an asylum bid by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden
On Wednesday, Ricardo Patino compared the case to that of Julian Assange, who has been living inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London for more than a year.
Julian Assange walked into the embassy when his appeal against extradition to Sweden for questioning on accusations of sex crimes was turned down last June.
“It took us more than two months to make a decision in the case of Assange, so do not expect us to make a decision sooner this time,” Ricardo Patino told reporters.
Ricardo Patino said Ecuador had not yet decided whether to offer protection to Edward Snowden in the meantime.
“If he goes to an embassy, then we will make a decision,” the foreign minister said.
Ecuador said it would consider the American’s application “responsibly” and would weigh “human rights obligations”.
It added that the US would have to submit its position in writing regarding Edward Snowden.
Venezuela has also said it will consider an asylum application from Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden’s case has caused a diplomatic spat, with the US accusing Russia and China of assisting the fugitive. Both nations have rejected the charges.
Russia earlier confirmed that Edward Snowden was still in a transit zone at the Moscow airport.
Although the country has no extradition treaty with the US, Washington said it wanted Moscow to extradite Edward Snowden without delay.
But Russia said that the American was technically not yet under its jurisdiction because he had not passed through immigration.
Meanwhile China described accusations that it allowed Edward Snowden to leave Hong Kong despite an arrest warrant as “groundless and unacceptable”.
The Chinese government has expressed deep concern about the leaker’s allegations that the US had hacked into networks in China.
Edward Snowden is wanted by the US for leaking highly sensitive information to the media about a secret government surveillance programme, which he obtained while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA).
He is charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence.
Edward Snowden’s leaks have led to revelations that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data under an NSA programme known as Prism.
US officials have defended the practice of gathering telephone and internet data from private users around the world.
They say PRISM cannot be used to target intentionally any Americans or anyone in the US, and stress that it is supervised by judges.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is trying to arrange a deal that would see US surveillance programme leaker Edward Snowden granted asylum in Iceland.
Julian Assange said he had been in touch with lawyers for Edward Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong before the scandal broke.
Iceland’s PM said “informal discussions” had been held with an intermediary of ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden.
But Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said Edward Snowden would need to be in Iceland to apply for asylum.
Edward Snowden, 29, who most recently worked as a contract computer technician for the National Security Agency (NSA), the US electronic spying agency, has vowed to fight any extradition attempts by the US.
The US has yet to file a formal request for his extradition from the Chinese territory.
The leaks, published in a series of articles this month in The Guardian and Washington Post newspapers, revealed that US agencies had systematically gathered vast amounts of phone and web data.
“We are in touch with Mr. Snowden’s legal team and have been, are involved, in the process of brokering his asylum in Iceland,” said Julian Assange in a conference call from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he himself is fighting extradition to Sweden.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is trying to broker a deal that would see Edward Snowden granted asylum in Iceland
On Monday, Edward Snowden said US officials had destroyed any possibility of a fair trial by labeling him a traitor.
“The US government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason,” he wrote in a live online chat.
Former Vice-President Dick Cheney and two influential members of the US Congress have accused Edward Snowden of betraying his country.
Edward Snowden’s father has also urged his son not to commit “treason”, using a US TV interview this week to urge him to come home and “face justice”.
NSA Director General Keith Alexander told Congress on Wednesday that surveillance programmes leaked by Edward Snowden had helped thwart 50 attacks since 2001.
Plans to attack the New York Stock Exchange were among 10 plots targeting the US that had been stopped, Keith Alexander told the intelligence committee of the House of Representatives, adding that the snooping operations were critical.
Julian Assange walked into the Ecuadorean embassy in London on 19 June 2012 when his appeal against extradition to Sweden for questioning on accusations of sex crimes was turned down.
He has always denied the accusations, and said on Wednesday he would stay in the embassy even if they were dropped, as he still feared being sent to the US for releasing secret documents.
Wikileaks made headlines around the world in 2010 after it released more than 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden has claimed that the U.S. government has been hacking Hong Kong and Chinese networks for at least four years.
In his first interview since he revealed himself on Sunday, the 29-year-old whistleblower told the South China Morning Post that the NSA has hacked the country’s universities, businesses and politicians.
Edward Snowden claimed the agency had hundreds of targets – including the Chinese University of Hong Kong – from as far back as 2009, but that these were just a fraction of the 61,000 NSA hacking operations carried out globally.
He added that none of the documents revealed any information about Chinese military systems.
“We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” he explained.
The hour-long interview, which took part in a secret location on Wednesday, came after Snowden fled to Hong Kong from his home in Hawaii on May 20 after leaking sensitive documents about the NSA.
His actions have been both praised and condemned globally, with some hailing him a hero while others, including House Speaker John Boehner, calling him a traitor.
But in the exclusive interview, Edward Snowden said: “I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.”
He said he will stay in Hong Kong to fight any extradition bid from the U.S, and he hit back against people who have called his choice to flee to Hong Kong a gamble.
“People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions,” he said.
“I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality.
“My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate. I have been given no reason to doubt your system.”
It is believed the U.S. is pursuing a criminal investigation against Edward Snowden, and on Tuesday, sources said officials were preparing to bring charges against him. No extradition request has yet been filed.
Inanother clip of the interview Edward Snowden said he has heard from a reliable source that the government is “trying to bully the Hong Kong government into extraditing me”.
Edward Snowden has claimed that the U.S. government has been hacking Hong Kong and Chinese networks for at least four years
“I will never feel safe,” Edward Snowden said, adding that he has also not contacted his family because he fears their safety too.
“Things are very difficult for me in all terms, but speaking truth to power is never without risk,” he said.
“It has been difficult, but I have been glad to see the global public speak out against these sorts of systemic violations of privacy.”
His interview comes two days after Edward Snowden checked out of a Hong Kong hotel where he was interviewed by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, which first published the story.
Since then, he has been nowhere to be seen.
In the Guardian interview, Edward Snowden had said he wanted to avoid the media spotlight, noting he didn’t want ‘the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the U.S. government is doing’.
With little new information to report on Edward Snowden or his whereabouts, focus has instead fallen on his American girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, a dancer who posted partially nude photographs of herself online before she also apparently disappeared.
Reporter Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian newspaper, who interviewed Edward Snowden for exclusive stories about his revelations, wrote late Tuesday that ‘it is thought’ Snowden was now in a private home in Hong Kong, but offered no details.
Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who interviewed Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, has given a series of interviews about the case, but refused to reveal any information about his location or his plans.
The US has been divided in praising or condemning Edward Snowden after he leaked information about a global eavesdropping operation, PRISM, put in place by the government.
“He’s a traitor,” Boehner told ABC on Tuesday.
“The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it’s a giant violation of the law.”
Also on Tuesday, Edward Snowden’s employers, Booz Allen Hamilton, announced that it has terminated his contract ‘for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy’.
It said that the claims he had leaked information were “shocking” – and revealed that he was earning $122,000 rather than the $200,000 he told The Guardian he was paid.
As for his future prospects – although Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the U.S., the document has some exceptions, including for crimes deemed political.
Any negotiations about his possible handover will involve Beijing, but some believe China is unlikely to want to jeopardize its relationship with the U.S. over someone of little political interest to them.
Edward Snowden also told The Guardian that he may seek asylum in Iceland, which has strong free-speech protections and a tradition of providing a haven for the outspoken and the outcast.
And even Russia has stepped up to say it would consider offering him political asylum if he sought it.
“We will take action based on what actually happens. If we receive such a request, it will be considered,” said the Russian president’s official spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Italy’s Supreme Court’s decision to retry Amanda Knox for the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher sparks a heated legal debate that raises questions of double jeopardy.
The U.S. constitution bans double jeopardy, or being tried twice for the same crime; however, the Italian courts have no such law, meaning that they will use the same evidence to try Amanda Knox for the 2007 murder.
According to legal experts, Italy’s Supreme Court decision could throw both countries into uncharted territory, as it is highly unlikely the U.S. will extradite Amanda Knox to face trial.
Amanda Knox’s Italian lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said it was unlikely that his client does not intend to return to Italy to face trial, which would likely take place this year or next. However, Amanda Knox can be tried in absentia.
“Amanda does not intend to come back for the retrial,” he said.
“Her home is in Seattle and she doesn’t need to be here.”
Carlo Dalla Vedova added that the decision to order a new trial was shocking.
“She thought that the nightmare was over,” he said on the steps of the courthouse.
“But she’s ready to fight.”
When the Italian courts reach a final decision they can also ask for her extradition, the lawyer told Reuters. At that point, the U.S. Department of State would have to weigh in on the request and make its own decision. The state department would then turn to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to seek the Seattle resident’s extradition.
Regardless of the outcome, the new trial will prove to be an expensive and emotionally-charged spectacle.
After the court’s decision, Amanda Knox struck back: “No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity,” she said in a statement.
Amanda Knox has largely avoided the public eye since returning to Seattle, Washington, and has been spotted around the town running errands and resuming her studies.
Her memoir, Waiting to be Heard, is due out in April.
Amanda Knox’s memoir, Waiting to be Heard, is due out in April 2013
Meredith Kercher, 21, a Leeds University student, was found semi-naked with her throat cut in the bedroom of the house she shared with Amanda Knox, in Perugia in November 2007.
The first trial caused a stir as both Amanda Knox and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollicito were acquitted of Meredith Kercher’s murder, and a polarizing divide in national thought. Americans largely understood the two to be innocent, while the British believed them to be getting away with murder.
The initial trial also put Amanda Knox’s character in the forefront as prosecutors painted the American student as a sexual deviant who experimented with marijuana.
But in 2011, the evidence was re-visited and much of it was found to be “contaminated”.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito spoke on the phone soon after Italy’s Supreme Court’s decision of retrial.
Raffaele Sollecito’s current girlfriend Annie Achille said: “They will see what can be done.”
Annie Achille added that Raffaele Sollecito, who turned 29 yesterday, is “destroyed” and not talking to anyone.
Meredith Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was in Italy as an exchange student from Leeds University.
She was found dead in 2007, in the cottage she shared with Amanda Knox in Perugia.
Her throat had been slit and her semi-naked body had been covered with a duvet. After a lengthy trial in Perugia, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of the murder in December 2009 and sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively.
Two years later, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were freed after an appeal court found that the case had been botched and DNA evidence contaminated.
A third suspect, Rudy Guede, whose DNA and bloody footprints were found all over the crime scene, is serving a 16-year prison sentence, reduced from 30 years on appeal.
Meredith Kercher’s family welcomed the Italian court’s judgment. Her sister Stephanie said: “We are never going to be happy about any outcome because we have still lost Meredith but we obviously support the decision and hope to get answers from it.
“There are still so many unanswered questions. All we have ever wanted to do is do what we can for Meredith and to find out the truth of what happened that night.”
Amanda Knox had rejoiced after her conviction was sensationally overturned in 2011.
She fled Italy within hours, returning home to the US, where she quickly embraced life as a free woman.
Amanda Knox now shares a flat with boyfriend James Terrano, a classical guitarist, and is studying at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she can be near her parents and three sisters.
She is preparing for the publication next month of a memoir for which she has been paid a reported $3.8 million.
Raffaele Sollecito remained in Italy and is studying robotic surgery at the University of Verona. He has already released a book about his experience. In it he said that he and Amanda Knox were still in touch – he visited her earlier this year and they speak on Skype regularly.
His lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said: “We are still strong. This is not a sentence in itself: this is just an annulment.”
Amanda Knox’s appeal against her conviction for slander – for having falsely accused her boss Patrick Lumumba of the murder – was rejected. She has already served the three-year prison sentence for that conviction, but was ordered to pay Lumumba €4,000 ($5,100) in costs.
The retrial will be held in Florence, with different judges, to avoid accusations of prejudice against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
Many people especially in the UK will have heard and read about 24yr old Sheffield Hallam University student Richard O’Dwyer’s fight against extradition to the USA on a charge of copyright infringement over a linking site he made (TVShack.net) even though he has not been to America since he was 5 years old!
His mum Julia describes this as “The Fight of Our Lives” Richard if convicted in a US court could find himself in a Federal prison for up to 10 years and subject to a $250,000 fine. Though Richard and Julia are fighting against this disproportionate extradition and with no help from the British government who have rubber stamped Richard’s extradition, in reality hardly any British citizens have successfully fought extradition to the USA. You can find out more about Richard’s situation by following Julia on twitter @jrodwyer and have a look on her blog http://juliasblog-the-fight-of-our-lives.blogspot.co.uk/
Everything is stacked against Richard even though he has yet to have his appeal. Julia needs to plan for the worst in case Richard is extradited to the USA. Fighting extradition has been costly so far even though Richard’s legal costs have been funded by legal aid in the UK.
Sheffield student Richard O’Dwyer, 24, faces extradition to the US and up to 10 years in prison for alleged copyright offences after setting up a website with links to TV shows called TVShack.com. Here, he discusses why he set up the site; his arrest and detention; and the battle his family faces to keep him in the UK
TV Shack Admin Richard O’Dwyer “Almost Certain” To Be Extradited To US
The recent decision not to extradite hacker Gary McKinnon to the United States was considered by some as a sign of hope for the predicament of former TVShack admin Richard O’Dwyer. But while there is still a High Court appeal around the corner, things still don’t look good. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Richard’s mother says her son’s extradition is now “almost certain” which is forcing her to plan for a worst case scenario in which he is sent across the Atlantic with little notice. Can you help?
In 2011, Richard O’Dwyer was arrested by police for operating TVShack, a website that listed user-submitted links to TV-shows hosted on other websites.
Earlier this year UK Home Secretary Theresa May officially approved an extradition request from US authorities and ever since Richard and his mother Julia have battled against it. Their campaign has received high-profile support from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who characterized the case as a clash between civil liberties and the interests of the copyright industries.
Right now Richard is awaiting his appeal to the High Court against the decision of a judge in a lower court to allow his extradition to go ahead. That appeal is scheduled for December 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, Julia O’Dwyer says the appeal will take place on a number of issues but mainly against the lower court judge’s decision.
“In order to proceed with an extradition the alleged conduct must be a crime punishable with more than 12 months in prison in both countries. Despite the Judge saying at the Oct/Nov hearings last year that we had a good strong legal argument supporting this (an opinion which was agreed by the prosecution Barrister), when considering his decision he strangely changed his mind and decided the other way,” Julia explains.
Since it was very similar in function, on many occasions Richard’s site TVShack has been compared to the now-defunct site TV-Links. The admins of TV-Links were also subjected to legal action but were cleared after a judge ruled that Section 17 of the European Commerce Directive 2000 afforded TV-Links a defense when it linked to other web sites. This ruling will form part of Richard’s appeal.
“We will be strengthening these arguments at appeal and as you might expect have sought expert IP opinion on the matter,” Julie adds.
Last week, UK Home Secretary Theresa May decided that alleged hacker Gary McKinnon would not be extradited to the US. She also announced that the government will make some changes to the existing extradition treaty, including the so-called Forum Amendment, which many viewed as good news for Richard’s case, but that’s not necessarily the case.
“This means that where an accused has committed all or a significant amount of the alleged conduct in the UK, then the courts will be able to decide whether they should be tried in the UK,” Julia explains.
“This is a major breakthrough and is what the campaigners for extradition reform have been fighting for for years. This would apply in Richard’s case but as the law has not yet been changed and I don’t know when it will, this is not likely to benefit Richard.”
While Julia notes that the UK government does technically have the power to apply the changes to Richard’s case, the McKinnon decision may mean that they choose not to.
“[The UK government] has just upset the US by keeping Gary Mckinnon here and they are already trying to sabotage any law changes planned by sending over a US Judge to give a lecture to the UK Parliament later this month,” she reveals.
Furthermore, while not a single US citizen has ever been extradited to the UK for a crime committed from the US, aside from the McKinnon decision Julia says that nearly all extraditions to the US of UK citizens (including those who have never set foot on US soil) have eventually gone ahead.
Faced with this bleak outlook, Julia informs TorrentFreak that she is “almost certain” that Richard will be extradited to the US. To this end she is now being forced to prepare for this worst-case scenario.
Fortunately, several people have already offered to finance or work for free on Richard’s case in the US but there are additional costs still to be met.
“There still remains the worry of financial costs in the US. There will be personal financial costs associated with travel to the US, accommodation and the cost of securing an address for Richard to live at in order to be allowed bail. These costs will have to be covered by me somehow,” Julia explains.
“What concerns me are the unknown additional costs which we could be faced with such as a large bail bond or an even more costly financial penalty running into hundreds of thousands of dollars if Richard were to be found guilty,” she adds.
To prepare for this eventuality, a supporter has set up a fighting fund for Richard on GoFundMe with an initial target of £25,000.
“This is a large amount to be raised and I know times are hard for many of us so with that in mind please donate only if you can afford to do so. Your online and public support has been invaluable and has helped get us through this dreadful situation,” Julia concludes.
The petition set up by Jimmy Wales attracted hundreds of thousands of signatures – the hope is that just a few percent of those people will donate one or two pounds, euros, or dollars each.
Julian Assange has urged the US to end its “witch-hunt” against WikiLeaks, in his first public statement since entering Ecuador’s London embassy.
Julian Assange also called for the release of Bradley Manning, who is awaiting trial in the US accused of leaking classified documents to the Wikileaks site.
He spoke from a balcony at the embassy and thanked Ecuador’s president, who has granted him asylum.
Julian Assange faces extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies.
Julian Assange has urged the US to end its "witch-hunt" against WikiLeaks, in his first public statement since entering Ecuador's London embassy
He said: “As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all our societies.
“We must use this moment to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America.
“Will it return to and re-affirm the revolutionary values it was founded on?
“Or will it lurch off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?”
The US is carrying out an investigation into WikiLeaks, which has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables, embarrassing several governments and international businesses.
Alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, 24, an intelligence analyst in the American army who served in Iraq, is alleged to have leaked US government cables to the whistle-blowing website. He is set to face a court martial.
In an interview for US television in 2010, Julian Assange denied any knowledge of Pte Manning.
Julian Assange began his speech by thanking his supporters, many of whom have been holding a vigil outside the building in Knightsbridge.
Speaking of the visit by police officers to the embassy on Wednesday, Julian Assange said: “Inside this embassy after dark, I could hear teams of police swarming up into the building through its internal fire escape. But I knew there would be witnesses and that is because of you.
“If the UK did not throw away the Vienna Conventions the other night it is because the world was watching and the world was watching because you were watching.”
It is an established international convention that local police and security forces are not permitted to enter an embassy, unless they have the express permission of the ambassador.
The Foreign Office has said it remained committed to reaching a “negotiated solution” but following its obligations under the Extradition Act, it would arrest Julian Assange if he left the embassy.
In 2010, two female ex-WikiLeaks volunteers accused Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, of committing sexual offences against them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture.
Julian Assange claims the sex was consensual and the allegations are politically motivated.
In a statement issued after the Ecuadorean decision to grant Julian Assange political asylum, Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK was under a “binding obligation” to extradite him to Sweden.
The Ecuadorean government said it had granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asylum because it shared his fears of political persecution and the possible consequences of an eventual extradition to the United States.
“There are serious indications of retaliation from the country or countries that produced the information published by Mr. Assange; retaliation that could endanger his safety, integrity and even his life,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ricardo Patino.
“The evidence shows that if Mr. Assange is extradited to the United States, he wouldn’t have a fair trial.
“It is not at all improbable he could be subjected to cruel and degrading treatment and sentenced to life imprisonment or even capital punishment,” he added.
Most supporters of the WikiLeaks founder share this belief.
And Julian Assange knew he could count Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa among those supporters, even before he walked into the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
The Ecuadorean government said it had granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asylum because it shared his fears of political persecution
But according to Santiago Basabe, a professor at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, Rafael Correa’s reasons go beyond his declared interest in protecting Julian Assange’s rights.
“It is important to understand that this event was the conclusion of a very long negotiation between Mr. Assange and the Ecuadorean government,” he said.
“Many see Mr. Assange as somebody who has fought for freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, which are also key components of the Ecuadorean government official discourse.
“By granting him asylum, the government was trying to prove it really cares about freedom of opinion and freedom of the press, at a moment when Ecuador has been strongly criticized, both nationally and internationally, for the way the national government understands democracy,” Prof. Santiago Basabe added.
In Ecuador, however, not everybody is convinced the country’s international image will be better off as a result.
The private media and a large majority of opinion makers – traditionally opposed to President Rafael Correa – warned that Ecuador had very little to win from a positive response to Julian Assange’s request.
For instance, Ecuador has been trying to secure a commercial agreement with the European Union and many fear that picking a fight with the United Kingdom and Sweden will not help.
And they will certainly try to use the whole issue against Rafael Correa as he seeks re-election in February 2013.
Former President Lucio Gutierrez has even suggested that Rafael Correa’s real intention is to use Julian Assange’s hacking skills to steal the elections.
But according to Santiago Basabe, Rafael Correa does not need to resort to such strategies to stay in power.
“The possibility of President Correa losing the February voting is very low,” he said, while also noting that a small majority of Ecuadoreans supported Julian Assange’s asylum request anyway.
And the possibility of the British authorities storming into the Ecuadorean embassy in London to capture Julian Assange, raised on Wednesday by Foreign Minister Patino, has provided Correa supporters with a powerful rallying cry.
“This is a decision of a sovereign government, which doesn’t have to ask for British permission to act,” said Rosana Alvarado, a representative in the National Assembly of the official Alianza Pais party.
“I hope the Ecuadorean people will remain united and reject any form of colonialism,” said Paco Velasco, also from Alianza Pais.
To a large extent, however, repercussions will depend on the reaction of the British and Swedish governments – and, of course, of the United States.
And very few people seem to believe the WikiLeaks founder will ever make it to South America.
Luka Rocco Magnotta, the Canadian porn actor wanted for the murder and dismemberment of his lover, has told a judge he will not fight his extradition from Germany, prosecutors say.
Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, appeared in a Berlin court to have his arrest confirmed, a day after he was detained.
Canadian authorities are preparing papers to request his extradition.
Police detained him in an internet cafe in Berlin after an employee recognized his face from a newspaper.
Luka Rocco Magnotta is suspected of killing Chinese student Jun Lin, 33, in Montreal, and posting severed body parts to political parties in Canada.
“He said he would not fight the extradition,” Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the Berlin public prosecutor’s office, told AFP after the hearing on Tuesday.
The extradition process could take months, but Martin Steltner said it “will be easier and will be faster” now that Luka Rocco Magnotta has said he will not oppose it.
Luka Rocco Magnotta has told a judge he will not fight his extradition from Germany
Police say Luka Rocco Magnotta flew from Montreal to Paris on 26 May, eventually travelling by coach from France to Germany.
Montreal Police Commander Ian Lafreniere said investigators were extremely relieved and pleased about the arrest.
“We said from the beginning that the web has been used to glorify himself and we believe the web brought him down,” he added.
“He was recognized because his photo was everywhere.”
Luka Rocco Magnotta was picked up in the cybercafe in Berlin’s Neukoelln district, where he had reportedly been reading articles about himself.
“A colleague recognized him from his photo because he’d just read the newspaper,” the cafe owner told the Associated Press news agency.
The employee, Kadir Anlayisli, ran outside and flagged down a passing police van.
“He came in with glasses on, he took his glasses off and talked to me in French,” Kadir Anlayisli told AP.
“I looked at him and thought I knew him from somewhere, because I read newspapers every day. I was perplexed and thought I should look at him again, and when I watched him, he was checking the same web page that I had just checked.”
Kadir Anlayisli then stepped out of the cafe, on Berlin’s busy Karl Marx Strasse, and stopped the police van, telling the officers inside: “I have someone here you might be looking for.”
Police said there had been no struggle when Luka Rocco Magnotta was arrested at 14:00 local time on Monday.
Confronted by seven police officers, Luka Rocco Magnotta “tried at first giving fake names”, police spokesman Guido Busch said.
“But in the end he just said: <<You got me>>.”
Kadir Anlayisli recalled: “At first they [the police] asked him for an ID.
“Then they searched him. Well, then they showed me the <<thumbs up>> to show me that it was the right one. I was relieved.”
The suspect had reportedly worked as a bisexual porn actor and model.
Jun Lin, who was from Wuhan in China, had been enrolled as an undergraduate to study engineering and computer science at Concordia University in Montreal.
Zoya De Frias Lakhany, 21, a fellow Concordia student in some of Jun Lin’s classes, said he had been an excellent student who was shy and humble. She said she had cried all weekend after hearing about his death.
“He was happy here, he would take pictures of the snow and post them,” she recalled, quoted by AP.
“He was sweet, never complained and smiled all the time.”
Investigators say a video posted online, in which a man apparently uses an ice pick to kill another man, is believed to show Jun Lin’s murder.
Luka Rocco Magnotta faces charges in Canada of murder and threatening Canadian politicians.
Authorities believe body parts sent through the post belonged to Jun Lin. A foot was received by the headquarters of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party in Ottawa on 29 May. A hand was found on 29 May in a parcel addressed to the office of the Liberal Party in Ottawa.
Kim Dotcom, Megaupload founder, has been granted bail by a New Zealand court.
Kim Dotcom, 38, has been in prison since 20 January at the request of the US authorities.
Megaupload founder faces charges in the US for one of the biggest copyright infringement cases in the country’s history.
The file-sharing site is accused of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue.
North Shore District Court Judge Nevin Dawson overturned two previous rulings that Kim Dotcom, who is a German national, was an “extreme flight risk” because he had the money and connections to get out of the country.
The judge said the risk had diminished because all his funds were seized and no new assets or bank accounts had been uncovered.
Kim Dotcom, Megaupload founder, has been granted bail by a New Zealand court
Speaking to reporters in Auckland, Kim Dotcom said he was “relieved to go home to see my family, my three little kids and my pregnant wife”.
On 17 February Kim Dotcom was charged with three new criminal copyright counts and five new wire fraud counts.
That is on top of one count of racketeering, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of criminal copyright infringement charges.
US authorities are seeking to extradite Kim Dotcom, who changed his name legally from Schmitz, and three other co-defendants who had earlier been granted bail.
The US Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation allege that Megaupload and its related sites made millions in ‘criminal proceeds’ by sharing pirated copies of movies, music and other content.
Founded in 2005, Megaupload was shut down by authorities last month.
They also seized millions of dollars worth of assets owned by Kim Dotcom including luxury cars, artwork and investments.
Kim Dotcom has denied any criminal misconduct and has said he will fight extradition to the US.