Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Arrested for expressing an opinion: Fascism in Britain

Teenager arrested for comments made on Facebook page
13 March, 2012

A teenager has been arrested for allegedly making comments on Facebook about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan last week.

According to Sky News, Azhar Ahmed of Ravensthorpe (19) posted comments on his profile page, criticizing the level of attention British soldiers who died in a bomb blast received, compared to that received by Afghan civilians killed in the war.

He was arrested on Friday and charged over the weekend.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "He didn't make his point very well and that is why he has landed himself in bother."

Ahmed has been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence and will appear at Dewsbury Magistrates Court on 20 March 2011.

The soldiers were killed on March 6 in the deadliest single attack on British forces in Afghanistan since 2001 when their Warrior armoured vehicle was blown up by a massive improvised explosive device (IED).

The deaths take the number of UK troops who have died since the Afghanistan campaign began in 2001 to 404.

It seems you have to be careful if you have an opinion on Facebook these days.

Theresa May confirms extradition of TVShack founder Richard O'Dwyer
Home secretary signs extradition order that will send O'Dwyer to the US to stand trial on copyright offences

Tuesday 13 March 2012 19.49 GMT

The home secretary, Theresa May, has signed an extradition order to send the TVShack founder, Richard O'Dwyer, to the US to stand trial on copyright offences.
O'Dwyer, 23, set up the TVShack website, which the American authorities claim hosted links to pirated copyrighted films and television programmes.

May's decision comes as David Cameron arrives in Washington to meet Barack Obama. It is expected that the controversial UK-US extradition agreement and the case of hacking accused Gary McKinnon will be raised in the margins of their meetings.

A Home Office spokesman said May took the decision after "carefully considering all relevant matters".

Westminster district magistrates court cleared the way for the Sheffield Hallam University student's extradition in January when it ruled there were no remaining statutory bars to his removal. He could face a maximum sentence of five years in the US compared with only two years in Britain.

O'Dwyer's mother, Julia, from Chesterfield, said he had been "sold down the river". A petition against his extradition has been signed by almost 20,000 people.

"Today, yet another British citizen is being sold down the river by the British government. Richard's life – his studies, work opportunities, financial security – is being disrupted, for who knows how long, because the UK government has not introduced the much-needed changes to extradition law," she said.

A Home Office spokesman said that the American authorities had alleged that substantive criminal activity in this case had happened in America and requested his extradition. Any decision to press charges in Britain were a matter for the prosecuting authorities.

The case was brought by the US immigration and customs enforcement agency, which claims that earned more than $230,000 (£146,000) in advertising revenue before a warrant was obtained and the domain name was seized in June 2010. The website was said to have collected and catalogued links to websites containing illegal copies of movies, TV programmes and music.

The Westminster district judge found the allegations were comparable to offences under British copyright law and it was appropriate for a trial to be held in the US.

It is expected that an appeal will be lodged in the high court against both the home secretary's decision and the ruling by the Westminster district judge.

O'Dwyer will not be sent to the US immediately. An appeal is likely to lead to a lengthy delay before a full high court hearing is arranged.

The case is under the 2003 Extradition Act, which enshrines the UK-US agreement, and which was recently used to send Christopher Tappin, the 65-year-old British businessman, to the US for trial on charges of alleged arms dealing. A decision by the home secretary is also awaited in the case of McKinnon, the alleged computer hacker, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.

Julia O'Dwyer said: "The US is coming for the young, the old and the ill, and our government is paving the way. By rights it should make for an interesting conversation between the Obamas and Camerons aboard Air Force One – but I'm not holding my breath. If Richard appears to have committed a crime in this country, then try him in this country."

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