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  • Jul 25, 2014
  • Updated: 10:21pm
Edward Snowden
NewsWorld
SECURITY

Whistle-blower Snowden has own 'no fly zone'

Bolivian president's plane is diverted after four European countries close airspace, fearing fugitive Edward Snowden was on board

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 11:33am

The world just got a whole lot smaller for Edward Snowden.

Western European countries apparently shut their airspace to Bolivian president Evo Morales' plane because of speculation the fugitive US national security whistle-blower was on board. Their alleged actions forced Morales' plane to divert to Austria, where it was searched, and triggered a diplomatic row.

They also suggest how difficult it will be for Snowden to leave Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, where he has been stuck in transit since leaving Hong Kong 10 days ago.

France, Italy, Spain and Portugal were said to have closed their airspace to the plane as the South American leader was flying home after talks in Moscow. French, Spanish and Portuguese officials denied having done so.

Before boarding his plane in Moscow, Morales had said he would consider an application for asylum from Snowden, and Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said the 30-year-old deserved "the world's protection".

Morales flew out of the Austrian capital yesterday after a stopover of more than 12 hours.

The Bolivian ambassador to the UN, Sacha Llorenti, said a complaint would be lodged with UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

"The decisions of these countries have violated international law," he said.

Bolivia's regional allies Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba and Nicaragua harshly criticised the European countries involved.

"It's clear that the US is chasing him down but it's harder to tell how much political European considerations are behind it," said Professor Martin Scheinin, an expert in international law and human rights at the European University Institute in Italy.

Scheinin said Snowden's options were limited despite the wide net he had cast by applying for political asylum with more than 20 countries, because the former CIA analyst's legal position was not clear-cut.

"It's a difficult case and his likelihood of getting asylum in Nordic or western European countries is quite slim," he said.

"To grant Snowden protection without a legal obligation to do so would be a discretionary political act and probably no European country would want to be seen carrying out such an act."

Scheinin said asylum used to be granted for protection on political or personal grounds "but more and more, countries are conflating it with the legal obligation to recognise refugee status". Snowden would not meet the definition of a refugee because he is not a member of a persecuted group. "Snowden is subject to criminal prosecution and imprisonment, not persecution."

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

 

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This article is now closed to comments

shuike
Frightening to see how powerful a control the US hegemon have over the world. Mind control shouldn't be far away with their technology. I'm really glad to be living in HKG.
dhychung
It's sad that news have to be entertaining to be afforded a status of a worthy news item. This is still news and still topical and interesting on how it may develop on a legal and political basis.
the sun also rises
Good news to tell everybody here ! The ex-Russian beauty spy,Anna Chapman wrote on the social website, asking Snowden:' Will you marry me,Snowden ?' Once Snowden agrees to marry her (who is 31 ),then he has the rights to live in Russia and thus ending his miserable life in the transit zone and may become an invaluable treasure of Russia. Snowden well knows the techniques to hack into other nations' computer systems and is also excellent in data analysis A nightmare of Obama ?
the sun also rises
Hong Kong observes freedom of expression, so does our respectable SCMP which allows any writers to contribute their views here in this column.Yet now some nasty guys who have no objective views to present here, dare suggest the editor of this column to cancel a certain writer's postings.How absurd it is ! Shame on these nasty guys and their so-called views or suggestions ! Shame on them indeed !
yty07
It is frightening to see with so much revelation by Snowden about US espionage on other countries including its allies in EU, the world is still working just like a slave to the super power by even shutting the doors of their corridors to let Snowden pass by. Is it another type of terrorism?
the sun also rises
The Snowden Gate Incident is the most shocking one in our cyber era and the main character Edward Snowden will definitely be remembered in the decades to come just like Martin Luther King jr. or Lincoln who set free the black slaves or India's saint Gandhi whose 'civil-disobedience' movement caused the independence of India.The saga itself is intriguing enough to attract the interests and attention of the general public (including the netizens of course) whose privacy have to be well-protected and their human rights in freedom of expression well-respected.
John Adams
Wow ! Big bully boy USA is really throwing his weight around over this.
There must be a lot more skeletons in the USA's cupboards that they are scared stiff of Snowden leaking.
Instead of ' shock and awe' as in the Iraqi war it's now 'fear and tremble' ... and obey
the sun also rises
if the plane carrying the president of Bolivia was not allowed to fly past the air-space of France and Portugal for fear that it might carry Snowden on board, then it can be expected that any planes carrying Snowden will not be allowed to fly past lots of European countries.How can our Leaker-hero,Snowden fly to his chosen country: Venezuela or Bolivia ? I wonder.Maybe it is time for him to seriously considering seeking a refuge in an embassy (either Bolivia or Venezuela) in Moscow provided he is allowed to enter the Russian territory while being a stateless person without a visa.If the country which is willing to accept him can send their car inside the transit zone and carry him away with the special permission from Putin,then Snowden is saved.amen.
KwunTongBypass
Would you please stop your hourly silly ramblings - UNDER ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT NAMES! You are not adding anything of any value!
What are you aiming at? Proving to the readers of the on-line SCMP that there are lots of NERDS reading the paper?
SCMP please note and put this guy right!
Carparklee
Yeah indeed, US has set up this 'no-fly-zone' without 'scrambling jets' in the sky. To whose jet do you think next time the US wants to apply another round of 'guided landing'? Mr. Putin's one?

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