• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 1:28am
Edward Snowden

Ireland becomes second state to reject US request to arrest Edward Snowden on arrival

Dublin joins HK in ruling that request offered no good reasons to deny whistle-blower his liberty

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 July, 2013, 3:45pm

Ireland's High Court has rejected a US request to detain Edward Snowden if he lands on Irish soil because the request lacked the necessary details for it to do so, in a move similar to Hong Kong's handling of the American surveillance whistle-blower.

Dublin is the first jurisdiction since Hong Kong to legally rebuff Washington's calls to detain the former National Security Agency contractor, who last month leaked classified documents to the media exposing controversial US cyberspying programmes.

Snowden is on the run after the US government filed espionage and theft charges against him and revoked his passport. He has been in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport since flying there from Hong Kong on June 23.

The 30-year-old's earlier decision to apply to 21 countries for political asylum prompted fears that he could pass through Ireland's Shannon Airport en route to safe haven in South America.

This led to the US applying for a provisional arrest warrant through its embassy in Dublin, according to Irish media reports.

In a High Court ruling in Dublin last week, Judge Colm Mac Eochaidh refused the application because US authorities had failed to detail where the alleged offences of espionage had taken place.

He also found that the US had not provided information on the theft charges, such as where the offence took place or exactly what government property Snowden had stolen.

The decision, based on technical aspects, mirrors similar action taken by the Hong Kong government when it allowed Snowden to leave Hong Kong on June 23 because the US had failed to provide Snowden's full name and passport number.

Snowden told the South China Morning Post in an interview on June 12 that he decided to come to Hong Kong to make his initial revelations because he trusted the city's rule of law.

He emerged from hiding on Friday to meet human rights groups in the transit area of the Moscow airport, and revealed plans to seek temporary asylum in Russia.

Video: Edward Snowden talks to human rights activists at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport

US President Barack Obama spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin, hours after the White House warned Moscow not to give Snowden a "propaganda platform" through asylum.

The Obama-Putin call had been scheduled for several days and while there were no immediate details of what the two leaders discussed, the White House earlier said the Snowden issue would be raised.

Yesterday Russia said it had not yet received a formal request for political asylum.

Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who first published the documents Snowden leaked, told an Argentinian newspaper that the US should be careful in its pursuit. "Snowden has enough information to cause more harm to the US government in a single minute than any other person has ever had," Greenwald told La Nacion.

Greenwald said Snowden had tucked away documents in different parts of the world.

Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay, which met on Friday, defended their right to offer asylum.

The countries also said they would summon ambassadors to four European nations after Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane was diverted on his return from Russia amid suspicion he was harbouring Snowden.

United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay meanwhile called on all countries to respect the right to seek asylum.

In her first comments on the Snowden affair, Pillay also said people needed to be sure their communications were not being unduly scrutinised.

Reuters, Agence France-Presse


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

silent is the night: My feeling is more optimistic about the HK courts. I think the court of final appeal would have ruled that the charges are of a political nature. The US Supreme court certainly thinks espionage is a political crime. So does Interpol. It's not really a stretch to consider it a reasonably good possibility that the court would rule in favor of Snowden.

The major concerns Snowden had was whether or not he would be able to post bail, and the length of time it would take to successfully obtain a final favorable ruling. Naturally this is due to the fact that Snowden wants to continue to have access to his PC and Internet connection. I don't blame him.
He wasn't ready to be separated from his p-or-n stash
the sun also rises
you are never ready to separate yourself from your blindly anti-communist stance ! Pigs is pigs,hackings done by anyone or organisations should be condemned,no matter whether communist countries or capitalist ones ! Shame on your insults towards our leaker-hero,Mr.Edward Joseph Snowden who told the public of the world that they have long been cyberspied on their e-communicaitons !
Ulf Timmermann
"New Galileo", you are a **** joke.
Well, well done Ireland and more shame to Hong Kong (and China) that it has to resort to trickery instead of just doing what is right. We failed Snowden.
Sad to see how deep the USA can fall by its bullying. It reminds me of how China acts against anybody who is involved with the Dalai Lama or similar "enemies of the state". In other words, they just act in the same way.
Bravo, Ireland!
the sun also rises
green green Ireland
brave brave is your act
unlike your neighbour
the Sunset Empire
which is nothing
but loyal servant
of Uncle Sam
whose Big Brother's
arrogant acts
have angered
S.America and
sneered by most
other nations
in this world
which is unfair
to tolerate
the Big Brother
for decades already
justice is now
sought by his
own guy
Hero or Traitor? Plain insane? Taking on Big Brother, Self- Appointed Policeman of the World and Super Power USA without even an escape plan! This is playing out better than any Bond film; why don't they write scripts like this in Hollywood?
As a resident I am proud Snowden fled to HK because of its staunch stance on the freedom of speech and the rule of law. China/HK did not fail him. Blame it on the paperwork, had to chuckle at that. Ingenious. Moscow refusing to give him up but in limbo with South American countries fighting to offer asylum but not being able to get there. The Bolivian president's private plane being virtually hijacked, refused air space over France and Spain and forced to land in Austria, it doesn't get better than this. Well it backfired for the big bully because now Bolivia is also fighting Snowden's cause.
Good for Ireland to make a stand. Bigger and more powerful nations have chickened out refusing asylum and airspace, though claiming to be defenders of human rights and pointing the finger at China and less developed countries.
Classic case of the guilty conscience attempting to shift the unwelcomed attention and place the blame squarely on the whistleblower.
I can't wait to see how it plays out. One thing for sure is the mighty USA is not going to allow one Edward Snowden to get away with humiliating and exposing its unsavoury spying activities on the global stage. They need to save face. Will he make it to safety?!
i am not surprised with Ireland's court decision. this is a country where the ancestors of JFK, Ronald Reagan hailed from. go Irish!! errr.. Fighting Irish...




SCMP.com Account