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Jun 12 2013

Snowden surfaces, says he’s staying put

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Edward Snowden, the 29 year-old former employee of NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, majority owned by the creepy Carlyle Group, surfaced in Hong Kong last night. In an exclusive interview with a local paper he says he’s staying put:

SCMP — Snowden said last night that he had no doubts about his choice of Hong Kong. “People who think I made a mistake in picking Hong Kong as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden said in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.

“I have had many opportunities to flee HK, but I would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law,” he added. Snowden says he has committed no crimes in Hong Kong and has “been given no reason to doubt [Hong Kong’s legal] system”.

“My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate,” he said.

Experts in international law say that Snowden could remain free for a long time in Hong Kong even if the US pursues him aggressively:

The Guardian — If the US decides to bring criminal charges and requests his surrender – technically not extradition, because Hong Kong is not a sovereign state – he might be able to argue that he should be exempt under the treaty’s political exception provisions. There is no set definition of a political offence: it is at the discretion of the state that receives the request. Both the intent of the authority making the request and the motivation of the alleged offender are considered.

Tim Parker, an immigration lawyer in the territory, said the chief executive of Hong Kong – which is part of China but enjoys considerable autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework – would decide on the US request. But Snowden would then be able to challenge the decision through the courts.

“In controversial political cases it would likely go to the court of appeal and ultimately the court of final appeal,” he said. The process “could go on for months and easily into years”.

2 comments

  1. 1
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Guess it beats the Ecadorian embassy anyhow? (Have they got one of those in Hong Kong?)

    Thinking of which – if Ecador was to send a navy ship with a helicopter to England, pick Julian Assange up from the roof of their embassy there and fly him to the ship and thence to Ecador telling England any interference would be an act of war – could / would that work d’ya reckon?

  2. 2
    Olav

    StevoR, such 007-like scenarios have all been proposed before… But the Ecuadorian embassy in London is only the ground floor of an office building. Assange cannot even go into the hall or stairwell of the building without being apprehended.

    I also can’t imagine that an Ecuadorian helicopter would receive permission to operate in London airspace. Or that either Ecuador or the UK are interested in risking their precarious relations through any sort of military action.

    Would the embassy have had an indoor garage or even just a bit of fenced off area around it (it hasn’t) then he would have been able to get into a diplomatic car and be immune (or so I read).

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