U.S. Authorities Must Not Persecute Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Photo Credit: The Guardian via Getty Images

Photo Credit: The Guardian via Getty Images

By Michael Bochenek, Director of Law and Policy at Amnesty International

The U.S. authorities’ relentless campaign to hunt down and block whistleblower Edward Snowden’s attempts to seek asylum is a gross violation of his human rights. It is his unassailable right, enshrined in international law, to claim asylum and this should not be impeded.

The U.S. attempts to pressure governments to block Snowden’s attempts to seek asylum are all the more deplorable when you consider the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower could be at risk of ill-treatment if extradited to the U.S.

No country can return a person to another country where there is a serious risk of ill-treatment. We know that others who have been prosecuted for similar acts have been held in conditions that not only Amnesty International, but UN officials considered cruel inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of international law.

Senior U.S. officials have already condemned Snowden without a trial, labeling him as both guilty and a traitor, raising serious questions as to whether he would receive a fair trial. Likewise, the U.S. authorities move to charge Snowden under the Espionage Act could leave him with no provision to launch a public interest whistleblowing defense under U.S. law.

It appears Snowden is being charged by the U.S. government primarily for revealing its – and other governments’ – unlawful actions that violate human rights. No one should be charged under any law for disclosing information of human rights violations. Such disclosures are protected under the rights to information and freedom of expression.

Besides filing charges against Snowden, the U.S. authorities have revoked his passport – which interferes with his rights to freedom of movement and to seek asylum elsewhere.

Snowden is a whistleblower. He has disclosed issues of enormous public interest in the U.S. and around the world. And yet, instead of addressing or even owning up to these actions, the U.S. government is more intent on going after Edward Snowden.

Any forced transfer to the USA would put Snowden at risk of human rights violations and must be challenged.

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4 thoughts on “U.S. Authorities Must Not Persecute Whistleblower Edward Snowden

  1. I didn't really expect much else from the Government that gave us, among other things, drones, MK Ultra, agent orange, the Iraq war, Guantanamo & flippin John McCain

  2. I wish Edward Snowden well, and I wish all humans well. I hope we all awaken to the fact that we are one human family. I can't help but see Snowden as a hero. He shared a truth with me that has allowed me to become a part of a debate in a democratic way, rather than remaining in the dark about my daughter's personal emails and phone calls being collected and stored by our government.

  3. Good idea that the rules of law be adhered to in Mr. Snowdens case. Why not?

  4. President Barack Obama on Friday described a vision of moderate changes for the National Security Agency in a discourse that will very likely please neither reformers nor agency defenders.The speech, which occurred in the Great Hall of the Justice Department building, arrived more than seven months after the leaks from former NSA worker Edward Snowden began. Realizing the open public complaint those leaks have created, the president however defended lots of the agency's the majority of questionable methods as essential in the battle against terrorism."The work before us now is a lot more than simply restoring the deterioration done to our operations; or discouraging more disclosures occurring in the future. As an alternative, we will need to make some pertinent judgements about how exactly to shield our very selves and sustain our authority in the world, although upholding the civil liberties and privacy protections that our principles — and our Constitution — demand," Obama said.