A criminal complaint has been filed by federal prosecutors against Edward Snowden, former contractor of NSA who leaked the programs regarding secret surveillance, and Hong Kong has been asked by US to have him detained on provisional warrant of arrest, according to authorities.
Aged 29, Snowden, hiding in the city of Hong Kong, had the charge of espionage on him as well as conversion of the government property and theft.
This complaint got filed in Eastern District of Virginia. This district has long record regarding cases that involve national security.
Last month, Snowden had flown to Hong Kong once he left the job at NSA facility located in Hawaii along with the documents that are highly classified which he uploaded at a USB drive that was banned while working in the agency on the post of systems analyst.
This news came when a British newspaper published many revelations by Snowden about NSA which showed the British spies running one eavesdropping operation online and which was so vast that it outstripped even the international surveillance effort by US over the internet.
This paper cited the leaked memos of British intelligence by Snowden for reporting that the spies of UK were tapping in world’s fiber-optic cables’ network for delivering largest access of Internet to any of members of Five eyes, names being New Zealand, Britain, Australia, US and Canada.
It was admitted by Snowden in an interview on June 9 that he leaked information on surveillance programs of NSA, saying that he did go to Hong Kong as it gave him legal and cultural framework to permit him to work with no detention immediately.
Officials of Justice told that it was criminal investigation that Snowden would have to undergo, but to file criminal complaint, the prosecutors now acquire legal foundation of making request to the Hong Kong authorities.
Now, the prosecutors have sixty days for indicting Snowden, that more likely would take place under seal. Then prosecutors would seek to extradite him for trial from Hong Kong.
Though, Snowden could fight US in courts in Hong Kong.U.S. has the treaty of extradition with Hong Kong. Also, the officials of America said that cooperation with Chinese territory was has been fine in the previous cases.
This treaty, however, holds exception for the political offenses. Espionage traditionally is treated to be political offense. This part of treaty would be invoked by the defense team of Snowden in Hong Kong.
Leung Chun-ying, the chief executive of Hong Kong, will decide if it will allow this request to be forwarded in local courts, told by Simon Young, the director of Center for Comparative and Public Law at University of Hong Kong.
If Leung does sing off, some magistrate then could issue warrant for the arrest of Snowden, as informed by Young in one e-mailed advisory.
When Snowden was under custody, magistrate would measure evidence in U.S. case. Decision of the magistrate could be appealed via 3 separate courts. Then Leung would have to see whether he should sign surrender order that would allow Snowden to get extradited, according to Young.
Under the law of Hong Kong, wanted person might not be surrendered for charges that are eligible for death penalty till requesting country makes promise that it wouldn’t be applied and that extradition also is barred for the offenses which have political character, Young told.
One same provision regarding political crimes in treaty of extradition of Sweden with U.S. has presented hurdles in attempting to arrest the accused spies, much recently, a previous lawyer of State Department, charged for inserting and recruiting one spy into Defense Intelligence Agency for Cuba thirty years back.
The prosecutors of US unsealed an indictment 9 years old against Velazquez during April after having Swedish officials alerted to charges in the year 2011.
He said that they couldn’t comment over cases individually and that they would handle this case as according to their law.
The best option for Snowden to avoid prosecution is by remaining in the country which refuses to have him extradited, according to Zaid. Once, he is brought to U.S. back, Snowden needs to try negotiating a plea instead of taking risk with trial, he told.
In an interview, Zaid said that Snowden had erased any significant legal defense that he might have by himself and that he had freely admitted that he was the person indeed who had done it.